In a desert of computerized over-produced faux-R&B, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings' "Naturally" is a cool glass of water for anyone thirsty for Real Soul and Funk Music. On this, their sophomore release on Brooklyn's own independent Daptone Records, they have succeeded in transcending the boundaries of time to bring us face to face with the naked body of vintage Soul.
Sometimes it takes a Sharon Jones to remind us that being a great performer is not necessarily the same as being a great Gap model, and vice versa. To believe the hype, exterior aesthetics kept this soul/funk singer from getting the recognition she deserved early in her career. Now shes pushing 50, but Naturally (Jones second full-length album with the Dap-Kings) proves that she can still sing circles around just about anything in hot pants.
When it comes to running down the great songs on this CD, its hard to know where to begin. "How Long Do I have to Wait for You" is as smooth and winning as the irresistible lovers Jones sings about on many of these tracks. Most of the material deals with matters of the heart, although Jones rendition of Woody Guthries "This Land is Your Land" reveals her political side. (In live performances Jones goes even further, singing a plan to stop paying taxes.) "Stranded in Your Love" is like a warm-weather version of "Baby Its Cold Outside." And the big romantic finish on this album, "All Over Again" must immediately be taken up as the new, must-play, wedding dance song. Naturally is a gift to R&B and should help the genre win new fans--with an album this infectious, youd have to be made of stone to resist the funk. --Leah Weathersby