Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings ‘Give the people what they want’ (Dap Tone) 4/5

sharon-jonesThe good news is that Sharon Jones, after a serious illness, is well on the way to recovery, and it is very much in this positive trajectory that the new album has been recorded and it is certainly one of the band’s strongest overall. If it is old school R & B with a honking baritone saxophone that you long for, then ‘Stranger to my happiness’ will impress and has something of a Motown feel to it in the use of drums. Muscle Shoals is surely the inspiration on the expertly delivered ‘Get up and get out’ while for melodic harmonies ‘Making up and breaking up (and making up and breaking up again)’ is one of the strongest of the laid back numbers and the album as a whole is varied. Strong hooks are a feature of the mid-tempo swinger ‘We get along’ which has definite crossover potential. It is worth pointing out that the all original in-house composed songs are both well structured and melodic and it shows in the final sound that the group have rehearsed a good deal together. In summation, Sharon Jones is back on top form and the absence of the band in the studio has refreshed their individual sound. Neo-soul with a large dose of retro does not get much grittier than this. Tim Stenhouse