Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: The Jazz Café, London 16/04/2008


With all three showâs sold-out two weeks in advance it was always going to be nothing short of spectacular. I was the dj support on the opening night â the crowd were in early and the band came on late, so as can imagine, you couldâve cut the air with a knife (such was the tension of expectation).

When The Dap Kings set foot on stage the audience cheered so loud that they drowned out any clever introduction that I had planned. The band (who have also been gaining notoriety playing on both Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouseâs albums) tore into a medley of both instrumental and vocals (courtesy of guitarist Binky Griptite) that couldnât have been slicker if itâd been a James Brown revue. After a massive build-up, Sharon Jones took to the stage going straight into âIâm Not Going To Cryâ â a tough Funk track that became an instant classic on 45 last year â and she continued with âHow Do You Let A Good Man Downâ, âNobodysâ Babyâ, Nobody But Youâ (a great blues-shuffle ballad) and the would-be Northern Soul classic âTell Meâ. After that, to be honest, I totally lost track of the songs because of the whirlwind performance. She may be around 5 feet tall but seemed more like 7 because of her powerful stage presence and personality. She immediately took control of the situation: forever keeping the crowd involved, getting people up to dance or to be sung to or getting them to sing. She danced with the energy of a 16 year old athlete too.

After an hour and a half they left the stage but there was no way the crowd were going to let them leave the building just yet. They wanted an encore and they got it (and a very generous one too). The Dap Kings reopened the proceedings with their exciting version of Masters At Workâs âNervousâ and back came Miss Jones. I didnât get the title of the Funk song she came back with but Iâll never forget the next song: a jaw-dropping version of James Brown 'Itâs A Manâs Worldâ. I love Funk so much (all permutations) but, here, the ballads such as this and the unbelievable âHumble Meâ made my night. And so the show was over.

This experience left me wondering whether there is a better female Soul singer in the world today. She is better than most all that I have ever heard and second to none. As a band they have now escaped the narrow restrictions of the stifling âDeep Funkâ scene and have now been discovered by real music lovers the world over. With absolutely huge record sales (the latest album has so far sold 110,000 â a miracle in this terrible environment of a download-ravaged industry), it gives me faith that, in a world of mediocre, whining, nasaly so-called R&B singers, a singer and musicians of the caliber of Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings are finally getting the appreciation they so deserve. From here they can only get bigger.

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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