It is strange that despite the incredible presence of Sharon Jones, the large lunged soulstress is less well known in popular music circles than her backing band. The Bosco Mann directed Dap-Kings are a hot musical troupe, who deliver a sparkling sound that is steeped in soul and powered by funk, but Ms. Jones is the icing on the cake. Funk inspired sounds have become fashionable of late in popular music circles, and the Kings have become a sort of a high profile Rent-a-funk outfit. They have recorded with the likes of Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen, as well as being used and abused by studio dons such as Kanye West and Kenny Dope. There is nothing wrong with the Dap’s working with a diverse range of artists and producers, but there is a feeling that the group’s art is diluted for popular audiences. A striking example of this is the King’s work on Amy Winehouse’s critically acclaimed and ear-pleasing, but distinctly soul-lite Back To Black album.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are a heavyweight prospect, both off and on stage. Jones is a magnificent singer and a true heir to the soul greats of the 60s, whilst the Kings are undeniably a gifted outfit. Together, they form a dream team that create genuinely memorable songs, fuelled by good old fashioned passion and emotion. Whether discussing heartbreak, finding love or other matters, Jones and co have the ability to captivate listeners, which can be heard on the wonderful Naturally album from 2005 and the equally impressive 100 Days, 100 Nights. The latter was released at the tale end of 2007 and it is this long player that the current tour supports. Seasoned touring musicians, Jones and the Kings put on an impressive live performance, complete with audience participation and a striking display from the front woman. The fact that the group records using an analogue studio, means that there is no technological trickery and thus what you hear on record is what you get in the flesh. There are no illusions; Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are the genuine article and worth catching live.
UK Tour Dates:
Thursday 10: Button Factory, Dublin.
Friday 11: Mint Lounge, Manchester.
Saturday 12: Concorde 2, Brighton.
Sunday 13: Yardbird, Birmingham.
Wednesday 16: Jazz Café, London.
Thursday 17: Jazz Café, London.
Friday 18: Jazz Café, London.
Saturday 19: The Sage, Gateshead.