I am sometimes accused of being Old Timey. It has nothing to do with my habit of walking very fast around in clipped cadence or the fact that I appear in a faded, sepia-toned black and white regardless of the time of year or level of light in a given room. It doesn’t even have that much to do with my drive to bring back terms like “You’re all wet!” or “23-Skidoo!” No, I like old timey music. I especially like it when new artists play old timey music and do it RIGHT!
My introduction to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings was right here on GLONO. In response to my admittedly hyperbolic declaration that Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album was “the best soul record in decades” a reader simply known as “matt” directed me to check out Jones and her band of Brooklyn soul brothers. I picked up Naturally and listened incessantly for two weeks. Given the volume of music I consume in a month, that’s a LOT of time on my playlist. And I still return to that album when I’m hungover or moody, which is more often than I should admit in public.
Now we have the follow-up, 100 Days, 100 Nights, and yes, I am smitten once again. From the beautifully vintage cover of Jones replete in gold lamay dress and Motown-inspired typeography to the hard-panned mix of the Dap King’s painfully cool instrumentation, this record is LEGIT.
Granted, I am new to this neo-paleo-soul movement (and owe “matt” a gang of beer for the referral), but this shit is fer real. My history lies in garage rock where bands are rewarded not as much for musical ability as attention to detail (that’s code for vintage gear and sweaters). With Jones and the Dap Kings, you get both. And what a package!
Where Naturally was wet with sweet soulful sweat and grind, it lacked the hooks and pop sensibility that propelled Amy Winehouse to critical adulation and endeared her to select hipsters with a passing knowledge of soul but a desire to grab onto a modern day soul singer who displayed the same legitimacy as their garage rock brethren. Of course, it didn’t hurt the storyline that Winehouse was a wacked out Jewish girl from England who bounced in an out of rehab as easily as a teeny bopper to Hot Topic.
With 100 Days, 100 Nights, Jones and Co. seem to have focused a bit more on melodies and choruses you could hum as you walked to work through as the darkness spread with an early fall. This is music for the night and you best have some sharp threads to wear.
I doubt this album will get a fraction of the attention that one day of Winehouse shenanigans will garner from a celebrity-driven media who can’t help but simultaneously promote and revile the subjects of their daily bread. But for those of us In the Know, we have 100 Days and 100 Nights of good loving ahead and that’s enough to keep your bed warm until New Years Eve.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – “Let Them Knock” (live)
In The Dap-Studio w/ Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings