The Funk and Soul of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
July 28, 2016 4:18 PM   Subscribe

"Since 2002, Sharon Jones and her band, the Dap-Kings, have been the world’s standard-bearing funk-bringers," according to Maxwell George, writing about Jones for the Oxford American. "On Sharon’s stage, delivery and dance moves are queen, and in her audience one can rediscover the lost arts of performance: command, direction, showmanship, sincerity." Horns, funk, soul, strength—Jones and her band bring it just for you.

George, on the genesis of Jones's calling:
Down south, Sharon discovered music—at church, on the radio, and in the audience with her father at a James Brown concert one summer. “He jumped on the stage,” Jones recalled, and the J.B.’s dropped into something and James Brown started moving his feet. “I was eye-level with the stage. And I was like, ‘Dad! Look, Dad, he’s floating.’”
So she sang. At church. As part of wedding bands. And kept singing, even though she was "told by music-industry executives that she was 'too black, too fat, too short and too old' to become a star. She worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island prison for a while, and still kept singing. A chance meeting with the co-founder of Daptone Records in the mid-1990s proved to be her big break, and led to a series of albums with the Dap-Kings, who also backed Amy Winehouse. Here's how they introduced themselves on their first album: Mr. BINKY GRIPTITE: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Daptones super-soul review. (Follow it up with "Pick It Up, Lay It in the Cut," from the same album.)

More, you say? Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - Full Performance (Live on KEXP). "100 Days, 100 Nights." "Stranger To My Happiness."

That last video is Jones triumphant—after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and a course of chemotherapy. She beat the cancer. For a time. She's undergoing more treatment, and spoke with the Guardian about continuing to perform in the meantime. (She also talked about it on "Fresh Air": link to audio; transcript.)

Her experience balancing the two is captured by a new documentary, Miss Sharon Jones! Again from the Guardian:
For the film’s soundtrack, you and the band recorded a new song entitled I’m Still Here. It’s not only your most autobiographical song but the title also seems to be a forceful statement of purpose.

[Jones:] When I was 57 and I was diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t think I would see my 58th birthday. So that’s why I say, “I’m still here.” I’m 60 now, so 60 years came along and I’m still here!
No retreat. She's still here, and she's still bringing it.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, previously.
posted by MonkeyToes (15 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
She's truly amazing (the Dap Kings are too) and I hope she beats this recurrence because the world needs Sharon Jones.
posted by tommasz at 4:21 PM on July 28, 2016 [7 favorites]

Saw her live for the first time at the Wiltern here in LA not too long ago. Still bald from cancer treatments but bouncing up and down the stage with an energy that would melt the energizer bunny. I had always loved her music but live she's a revelation. Amazing.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:29 PM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

I had somehow missed totally that this had happened; thank you for posting this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:47 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

She was also on Fresh Air this afternoon.
posted by indubitable at 4:54 PM on July 28, 2016

Recordings do not do her justice. Sharon Jones has the most amazing stage presence I've ever seen.
posted by Paragon at 4:55 PM on July 28, 2016 [5 favorites]

Great memories of seeing her at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.
posted by larrybob at 4:57 PM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Paragon, truth! I saw her when she opened for Prince in 2012.
posted by droplet at 6:41 PM on July 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

I saw her at a festival years ago. Incredible! The friends I went with still talk about it among ourselves from time to time, When we reminiscence about great music or great acts or both -- she is always up, up there.
posted by E. Whitehall at 7:03 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Recordings do not do her justice. Sharon Jones has the most amazing stage presence I've ever seen.

No joke, she's lit by a fire within and just can't stop bringin' it. Seen her twice now, hope for a few more!
posted by FatherDagon at 10:45 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I started following their music because I really liked the single How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?. The most recent album is pretty much all killer, no filler, and I do hope a lot more people get on board with their music, what with the new film and all.
posted by FarOutFreak at 10:49 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Stay where you are, 2016. Just stay where you are.
posted by flabdablet at 2:11 AM on July 29, 2016 [4 favorites]

I saw her when she opened for Prince in 2012

posted by MonkeyToes at 6:10 AM on July 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

The first time I heard '100 Days, 100 Nights' I completely stopped in my tracks and stood there dumbfounded, like everything not needed to absorb that song was just switched off. Her voice is remarkable. Thanks for the post.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 6:49 AM on July 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Okay, so here's my story about Sharon Jones. I was at a used record/cd store, and at the checkout, when Sharon Jones CHALLENGED ME with her EYES to pick up the album.

The way she was looking at me from I Learned the Hard Way woke something inside of me.

I have not regretted it.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:28 AM on July 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

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