Album review: Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, Soul Time!

By Graham Reid

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Singer songwriter Lindon Puffin. Photo / APN
Singer songwriter Lindon Puffin. Photo / APN

Soul singer Jones' credentials were unequivocally accepted when people learned she'd been a prison officer at Rikers and a security guard for Wells Fargo. Tough don't get more tough than that, and allows her to sing gutsy soul, funk and rhythm and blues like Etta James-meets-James Brown. This 12-song collection (mostly written by D-K bassist/producer Bosco Mann) gathers 12 previously unreleased tracks, live favourites and B-sides where Jones and band get into a funky stew, with a little Fela-framed Afrobeat groove on I'm Not Gonna Cry.

From the scene-setting opener Genuine Pt 1, with its shouts and good-foot rhythmic punch, they introduce a three-point Chicago/Detroit/Memphis soul implosion which is (mostly) persuasive. But on Genuine Pt 2 she gets left behind by the band's upward trajectory and on When I Come Home she's powerfully upfront but offering little to what the terrific band give. However, He Said I Can is raw and exceptionally earthy, and (despite the somewhat Greek question in the title) What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes is a boiling political soul-funk killer of the James Brown kind.

A standout, alongside the too brief Settling In, the tough but sentimentally milking-it Ain't No Chimneys in the Projects and soul pop of Without a Trace. A lesser Jones/Dap Kings album but one which confirms they bring funk-soul truth.

Stars: 3.5/5
Verdict: Hit and miss catch-up collection from one of soul's finest outfits

Buy Soul Time! here.

- TimeOut/elsewhere.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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