Friday, April 2, 2010

Album Review: Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings -- I Learned The Hard Way

Album Review 
by Soultaker73

Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, I Learned The Hard Way, Daptone, to be released April 6, 2010 (available in vinyl, too)
The fourth soulful album of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings has arrived, and it may be their tightest set yet.  With 12 soulful tracks, this album is an early contender for Album of the Year.   Here are some examples of what you can expect from I Learned The Hard Way.
The album starts off with “The Game Gets Old”, a song about the game of love and being tired of the same sad results of it.  One of the first things you will notice about this album is that you hear more back up singing than you heard on the first three previous albums.  The backup vocals come courtesy of Saundra Williams, Kevin Keys and Angee Blake.  The next track is the first single to the album “I Learned The Hard Way”.  A horn driven track about a lover that she finally sees who the real person he really is behind the camouflage of lies.   “Better Things” is a mid tempo groover that is perfect for driving in your car with all the windows down taking in the fresh spring air.  “Give It Back” is one of those tracks that benefited from the back up singers as it gave the song another level of quality that some may have thought was missing from previous recordings.  “Money” is a song that everyone can relate to as we all are struggling with trying to keep a dollar in our pockets in this economy.  
Most people will automatically label this album “retro”.   It’s a term I hate hearing as it often pigeonholes something that came from the past or is something that is dated.  This is far from the case for this album as the music on here is timeless.  Just like the music from labels like Stax and Motown, the music here is from the heart and that is something you cannot put a time clock on.   Go out and support this release and other Daptone releases as it deserves the recognition it truly deserves as being truly soul touching music.
Pre-order here.

Album Review
by I. Huff
Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings -- I Learned The Hard Way, Daptone Records, to be released April 6, 2010
I used to think that Soul with monumental horn sections was a thing of the past, relegated to fond memories and vinyl LP’s -- just like the memories of a long gone love. That was until I heard Sharon Jones and her Dap Kings’ new album I Learned the Hard Way. If I ever recommended an album completely convinced about its musical value, it is this one.
All 12 tracks on this CD are meant to be the “main attraction.” You’ll find horn sections that could be straight from the great era of the Memphis Horns. And you’ll find that invigorating sound of Motown, making your heart jump with the kind of excitement you thought had died a long time ago. If the sound of the good old Hammond organ or a clean guitar motif still give you a mini-high, you should get this CD. 
Sharon possesses a pleasantly mature voice and, without a doubt, she knows how to use it. Her ability to communicate emotion through the dynamics in any given song turns listening to I Learned The Hard Way  into a pleasure. In a nutshell: naturally good singing without a single trace of posing. Once you’ve heard Sharon Jones, you won’t believe that a singer like her still exists -- considering the mediocrity of most contemporary vocalists. 
On I Learned The Hard Way, you will find no cheap fillers -- a fact that cannot be over-appreciated. Just imagine, listening to an entire CD without having to skip half of the songs!  On this CD, Sharon Jones and her outstanding musicians present songs representing the classic sound of Soul as I know it from the 60‘s and 70‘s. Yet there is nothing on this album that sounds like a remake or smacks of a rehash.
My rating: 5 stars out of 5. Get it!
My favorites: I Learned The Hard Way, Better Things To Do, Give It Back, I’ll Still Be True.

Better Things To Do

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