100 Days, 100 Nights – Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Daptone Records 012
Lester Bangs might have disagreed, but for me, much of record reviewing simply consists of identifying an artist’s goals and judging whether the artist has met them. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings seem to have wanted to make a CD that sounds like a lost Motown album from 1966, and they have succeeded.
Synths, slap bass and samples haven’t entered this group’s sonic universe. Such old school touches as vibraphone and bongos are common, and now and then you can hear the unaccompanied bass line on the right channel vibrating the snare drum on the left. As for Jones, she’s a soul sister with a few decades of experience who can wail like fellow Augusta, Georgia native James Brown. And, like a Motown outing, this disc puts the most striking songs (“Nobody’s Baby,” with its guitar/bass counterpoint, and “Tell Me,” with its “Tears of a Clown”-flavored hook) at the front and some similar, more generic offerings towards the end.
The news that the Dap-Kings have also backed Amy Winehouse puts Jones in perspective. On the one hand, none of Jones’s insights about romance and self-reliance are quite as striking as Winehouse’s anti-self-help manifesto “Rehab.” On the other, Jones sounds like someone who won’t end up needing any gossip columnist’s sympathy.
If spending a half hour with that sort of woman appeals, check into this disc.