Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sharon JONES and The Dap Kings - Dap Dippin 2002
It's hard to believe that Sharon Jones' debut LP is a product of the year 2002, for several reasons. Given the excellent singles she recorded for Desco beginning in the late '90s, it seems like she would have gotten the opportunity for a full-length sooner; plus, her brand of raw, heavy, hard-driving funk is such a throwback to the '70s, and she pulls it off so well, that you wonder how she could have escaped that decade without at least a few rare, classic 45s (in the vein of labelmate Lee Fields). It's not hard to believe she once made her living as a prison guard, based on the tough-as-nails, no-nonsense performances she belts out on Dap Dippin' With Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the first full-length release on Desco's descendant, Dap-Tone. Backed by the Dap-Tone house band (a conglomeration of studio pros with connections reaching back to the Desco orbit), Jones delivers a storming set of tunes that would have sounded perfectly at home on the James Brown's Original Funky Divas compilation. The style and quality are pretty consistent all the way through, but it's hard not to single out the nearly unrecognizable cover of Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done for Me Lately," which is transformed into a churning blast of funk full of biting guitars (and nary a synth or drum machine in sight). Other highlights include the chunky leadoff track, "Got a Thing on My Mind," the would-be dance-craze "The Dap Dip," the slow-burning "Make It Good to Me," and the trials-and-tribulations tale "Ain't It Hard." Plus, label head Gabriel Roth throws in his usual "authentic" trappings the fake live introduction running down Jones' "hits," the intentionally dated copy on the back cover that make the whole package even more fun. All in all, a terrific debut.
By Steve Huey, All Music Guide.
Well, the cat's out of the bag. No longer do up-and-coming soul bands strive to sound like the antiseptic Brand New Heavies or, worse yet, insipid Jamiroquai. The Poets of Rhythm proved that rough could still sound good as far back as 1993. Phillipe Lehman and Gabe Roth founded Desco Records in the mid-1990s because they knew that a certain subset of America's funk-buying public would die for a bass that was plucked and not slapped. For drums that danced around rhythms instead of avoiding them.
But oh, what a monster they spawned! It seems that every white boy with a 4-track cassette recorder heard Brainfreeze, ordered Volumes 1-10 of The Sound of Funk comps and figured he could form a band to record with the chutzpah of Mickey and the Soul Generation and the Ebony Rhythm Band. But grasshopper forgot that those late-'60s funk legends had musical prowess. Grasshopper forgot that they all looked up to James Brown, who recorded ballads alongside the hardest funk instrumentals. Thank God Roth and Neal Sugarman (of boogaloo funksters the Sugarman Three) didn't forget. Thank God they formed Daptone Records and recorded — gasp — an album. Not a series of unrelated songs, but a string of winners, plucked out by a bona fide soul revue backing up dynamite Desco alumnus Sharon Jones. This album is as much about them as it is about Ms. Jones' and her ferocious vocals. Take one listen to their cover of Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done for Me Lately?" and you'll know why.
Sharon Jones- (Vocals);
Binky Griptite- (Guitar);
Homer Steinweiss- (Drums);
Bugaloo Velez- (Congas).
01. Introduction 1:30
02. Got a Thing on My Mind 2:58
03. What Have You Done for Me Lately? 3:16
04. The Dap Dip 4:01
05. Give Me a Chance 3:10
06. Cut That Line 3:28
07. Got to Be the Way It Is 3:25
08. Make It Good to Me 4:52
09. Ain't It Hard 4:30
10. Pick It Up, Lay It in the Cut 4:07
11. Casella Walk 10:02