Don’t need the documentary to enjoy this one.
An underground star of soul and funk has been brought up into the spotlight through the lens of famous documentarian Barbara Kopple in her recent documentary, Miss Sharon Jones! Who is Miss Jones? Many may ask for the name isn’t quite familiar at large, but she is by far one of the most powerful soul-funk female singers of all time. A hidden favorite of many, Sharon Jones along with her band The Dap Kings have the musical talent and ability to bring the soul sound of the 60s and ’70s into funk-deprived 2016. Jones and the Dap Kings perform the musical style well and embody the spirit of that time effortlessly into their performance style.
Miss Sharon Jones! is the title of this documentary produced by Barbara Kopple that highlights the ongoing battle between Jones and her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer while she maintained her musical career. This album is a generous 16 song soundtrack, long enough to accompany a late night old fashioned on a Friday.
The album kicks off with “Tell Me,” a classic soul-funk jam that time-slips listeners back to a whole other decade. “Retreat” features the strong vocals of Jones with a full jazz swing band in play in the background. “Genuine Pt.1” has an entertaining start with a trumpet solo that fuses into a mash-up of a variety of sounds – perfect for an up-tempo listen at the jazz bar. “If You Call” is quite the slow dramatic number which is a desperate plea to wean herself away from a past lover. “100 Days, 100 Nights” may come off a bit repetitive, however picks up the beat a little from the previous numbers.
“People Don’t Get What They Deserve” rants of the inequalities of the riches in society where money sometimes doesn’t make it to everyone’s front door in an upbeat, lighthearted number. “Humble Me” is a snazzy slow number accompanied by a jazzy piano melody with almost country sounding guitar accompaniment. “I’ll Still Be True” shares similar aspects to Alicia Key’s “Falling,” with a steady beat and low accompaniment of what sounds to be either a saxophone or a trumpet. Starting with a snazzy intro talking about the troubles men bring women time after time, in “Stranger to My Happiness” Jones expresses her surprise to finding Mr. Right who is making her feel like a stranger to her own happiness. The musical ensemble in the background is phenomenal – it’s lively and entertaining with a variety of sounds from trumpets, trombones, guitars and drum beats. A personal recommendation, but this track is best heard with a set of earphones. The sound of the instruments gets divided up into two, allowing for one to be able to enjoy all instruments of the musical ensemble.
“Mama Don’t Like My Man” might be one of the catchier tracks on the album, with a great chorus and guitar accompaniment. Trying to convince her mother of why the love of her life is surely difficult, and that frustration is definitely expressed in this number. Quite the lengthy mellow guitar intro, “Slow Down Love” is a candlelit dance number. “I’m Still Here” is a must listen for this album. It represents Jones not only as a singer but also as an individual. It’s a strong personal statement, which expresses the struggles she went through with racism, segregation and people telling her she was “too fat, too short, black and old.”
It would be nice to see singer Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings take on bigger stages and be placed in the spotlight of a more public eye. After listening to this soundtrack, it might make many keen to explore and check out other works from the band. Oh, and to check out the documentary by Barbara Kopple as well.