What you get with any Daptone, Truth and Soul, Soul Fire or Desco release is serious no punches pulled gritty soul and funk with the same feel and sound as classic late 60's and early 70's soul.
This music is not a gimmick.
Nor is it like a cheesy 70's Blaxploitation soundtrack or a misjudged pseudo-soul acid jazz sounding record. There is quality and depth to these performances and heart and soul that goes as deep as anything you have ever heard.
It is being created and listened to by people who are sick and tired of the sterile mass marketed soul-less dross that the music industry continues to spew forth nowadays. People like Sharon Jones, Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, Joseph Henry, Naomi Davis and the NYC collective of musicians is doing us a great service by creating sounds of such organic beauty and raw funkiness.
What is great about this album is that, unlike Dap-Dippin', the music is way more varied; there are more ideas and more scope for lyrics with meaning. The biggest success of this album is that it proves to the critics that Sharon and the Daps are no one-trick ponies.
Here's a quick breakdown of the tracks in order;
How Do You Let A Good Man Down
This is my favourite new track by Sharon Jones. Firstly the groove is way different from anything off of the first album and it's more of a medium paced tempo. Great little horn riffs. The lyric is great too. We've all been in a similar position, but the band has got the feeling and groove nailed down tight!
Natural Born Lover
This one is a real late 60's stomper in the vein of the slew of 45's that came out around Mr Big Stuff (similar geetar in places) and has backing vocals. Over the drum breaks there's a chant 'An N.B.L. and a T.B.C.' which is very kitsch. It doesn't ruin the song but a lot of DJ's would have preferred an open drum break. I can take it or leave the little chant but it's a mighty fine Groove as always.
Stranded In Your Love
Is a duet with Lee Fields (check out his 2 albums, Problems and Lets Get A Groove On). This is a funny, jokey but heart-warming song. Despite this the general groove is just great. Sure it's a ballad, and it's not going to get many plays out, but it's bound to win you over with oodles of charm. All I can say is; 'Thank god Lee's car got stolen, cause otherwise he would never have slipped into Sharon's bed...'
Hang on, did his car ever actually get stolen, or was it a dodgy scheme to get in her pants?... I'll let you decide!
My Man Is A Mean Man
Has the BEST groove on the whole album. It's frenetic like the first album, but it's even better than anything on there as it sounds significantly different (some of the tracks on the first were very similar to each other). This a real butt-shaking floor-stomper, with bass drums and conga played at a breakneck speed! I don't know how these guys play such dense, frenetic- yet tight grooves so effortlessly. Totally thrilling.
You're Gonna Get It
Side one finishes with You're Gonna Get It which is another ballad, but this time much slower. This sounds so like an old 60's tune that it's unbelievably authentic. A nice tune, not funk, just soul. The horn players manage to sound a bit like a Yorkshire Colliery Brass Band at about 3.00mins in too. Get your whippets and flat caps out!
How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?
Side 2 starts with How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?. This is another highlight. Middish tempo and sufficiently different from their first album to feel that the band are moving forwards with the 'sound'. Fat Drums and Sharon in form, topped of with a sprinkle of trumpet.
This Land Is Your Land
You'll already know this if you buy the singles direct from the website. Again another highlight for me. An old Woody Guthrie tune (he was a folk singer who inspired Bob Dylan) that pushes the band out a bit further with their sound than Dap Dippin' did.
Your Thing Is A Drag
Is a vamp based on Papas Got A Brand New Bag and is typical of reply songs that that came out in the sixties (a la It's My Thing, It's Your Thing, It's Our Thing etc). Bass is the highlight on this one. Great party tune.
Fish In The Dish
Is a New Orleans type of track, done at a slow-mid tempo. It's a nice track, but not my favourite, despite impeccable playing as always (it's ok to like some songs more than others, even if it's Sharon, right?).
At 1.40 min there's a great bit of piano. and the tune gets into a nice groove. There's even a little whistling (a la Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay) right at the end!
All Over Again
Is a massively good tune, made unbelievable by Earl Maxton's soaring Hammond. One of the best things Sharon and the band have done so far. This is another ballad, with a nice guitar lead too. This is nicely produced and may not satisfy the 'funk heads' but the 'soul' crowd will dig it.
You'll notice that there's a few new names in the band, but the core- bass and drums (and bugaloo velez) are intact. These two are, to me, what makes the Dap Kings so impressive.
It's too short.
I wanted Paying Taxes, Genuine, and What Condition on there, so that was disappointing. Perhaps they'll go on a Daptone CD comp of their singles later in the year?
What Condition (a cover of a Betty Lavette song) will be released in April on Hot, Funky and Sweaty a compilation CD, with, get this; A NEW POETS OF RHYTHM SONG!.