Courtesy of Daptone Records
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.
Sharon Jones is a publicist's dream. Music-industry honchos reputedly told her that she was too short, too fat, and too dark to be a star, going so far as to suggest skin-lightening products.
Jones has great talent and a great story, but is her music more than a novelty? She and her back-up band, The Dap-Kings, remain dogged in their pursuit of a retro-soul sound, and in order to achieve it, they use vintage equipment, eschewing anything digital. Jones and her supporting players strive to sound like something from another era, and they succeed. Plus, there's no denying that Jones has the pipes: She can holler and wail, her band is a dream, and a live performance by Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings is truly something to behold.
More About Sharon Jones
Born in Augusta, Ga., Jones began the way many soul singers did: by singing in the church choir. Encouraged by friends, she moved to Brooklyn with her family to get involved in the disco and funk scenes. Studios called on her to record backing vocals, often uncredited, but by the '80s, the music she loved was out of style.
Jones went back to gospel music and took a job as a corrections officer. In the mid-'90s, she was rediscovered, and she slowly began to release singles, building a reputation as the "queen of funk." Jones has since released three albums with The Dap-Kings (known for collaborations with Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson) as her backing band. The group's latest CD is titled 100 Days, 100 Nights.