Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings' 'Soul Of A Woman' Is A Testament To Fortitude Throughout their career together, Jones and her band gave listeners something to feel with every recording and every performance. That's still true on their final album.
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Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings' 'Soul Of A Woman' Is A Testament To Fortitude

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Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings' 'Soul Of A Woman' Is A Testament To Fortitude

Review

Music Reviews

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings' 'Soul Of A Woman' Is A Testament To Fortitude

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Today is the one-year anniversary of the death of singer Sharon Jones. Today is also the release of her final album with her band, The Dap-Kings. It's called "Soul Of A Woman." Reviewer Oliver Wang says that even at the end Jones and the band stayed true to their sound. And the result is a wonderful elegy to an indelible talent.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS SONG, "MATTER OF TIME")

OLIVER WANG, BYLINE: "Soul Of A Woman" never points directly to Sharon Jones' illness despite her very public battle with pancreatic cancer.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MATTER OF TIME")

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS: (Singing) It's a matter of time before justice will come. It's a matter of time, yeah, before all wars will be done.

WANG: Throughout her career, Jones' songs rarely felt autobiographical in any literal sense, even though hers was a story to tell - growing up for poor, long stretches working as a corrections officer and weekend wedding singer until finally catching a break at the age of 40. Her songs of triumph and struggle, love and heartache weren't necessarily about her, and that helped make them relatable.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAIL ON!")

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS: (Singing) Wait a minute. If I do to you what you did to me, tell me, tell me, where would we be? Two people stranded without a helping hand. Two people stranded, neither one a friend.

WANG: This is Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings' sixth album of original material, and its mere existence as well as excellence is a testament to the fortitude of all involved. When the group first assembled over 15 years ago, they mastered a blend of soul and funk influences to create their own sonic identity. When I hear their music today, especially the hit of their horns or the reverb draped over their guitars, I don't hear the Motown sound or the Stax sound or the Philly sound. I hear the Dap-Kings sound.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "COME AND BE A WINNER")

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS: (Singing) Seems like you've been wasting time trying to find your place in life. You need to get your ducks all in a row.

WANG: For longtime fans, some of "Soul Of A Woman" will play to expectation, such as the up-tempo, foot-stomping cuts that were always Jones' bread and butter on stage. But I'm not sure I've ever heard her sing in the pocket quite as snugly as she does on the slinky and sassy "Rumors."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RUMORS")

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS: (Singing) I heard a rumor about you, and they tell me you're no good. Are you my one and only? Can you show me? You've got to show me. Don't tell me that you're uptight.

WANG: That said, my favorite Sharon Jones songs are the ballads. Her power to emote, the grain of her voice give her slow jams an added a touch of pathos.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PASS ME BY")

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS: (Singing) Baby, there is something that is on my mind, but I really don't want to say it. Baby, I know all the games you're playing, but I'm getting so tired of playing them.

WANG: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings gave listeners something to feel with every recording and every performance. And that's still true here at the very end.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEARCHING FOR A NEW DAY")

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS: (Singing) I've been searching for a new day.

MCEVERS: Our reviewer, Oliver Wang, is a professor of sociology at Cal State, Long Beach, and co-hosts the music podcast "Heat Rocks."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEARCHING FOR A NEW DAY")

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS: (Singing) I'll keep on searching for it.

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