Sharon Jones Gives me What I Want

 Music, Music Review  Comments Off on Sharon Jones Gives me What I Want
Jan 162014

Waiting for my vinyl copy of Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, Give the People What They Want, reminded me of watching the last minute tick off the clock before the final bell range in fourth grade. I pre-ordered the stereo, plain old black vinyl copy but Daptone, Sharon’s label, offered a blue vinyl version and a mono version that probably would have gotten my money if I had noticed it when I ordered.

None of this mattered in the least however when I slipped the LP over the spindle. The strum of guitar, bass and then the ring of a bell echoed through my speakers before Sharon’s voice filled the room. ‘Retreat’ is a fare thee well to someone best left far behind.

sharonjones‘We Get Along’ is more than it seems, it is the story of our perseverance as people in a world that is far less kind to some than it is to others. In a more direct missive,’ People Don’t Get What They Deserve’ states the facts flat out, the American dream is more like a myth for many, no equal work for equal pay, no economic boost for being a hardworking, honest person.

Sharon is mesmerizing through this entire album, her inner strength powering outward in every song. Sharon is a master of soul timbre and nuance. She and her band transport back and forth through time effortlessly and you just want more and more.

The Dap-Kings are as tight as I have ever heard them and the mix throughout the album keeps them just behind Sharon in the soundstage, which is wider and deeper than many recordings.  The 10 songs on this album are gone long before you are ready, like ice cream in summer you just want more. Even the cover of this album is top notch, one of the best in memory even.

Sharon Jones is an unstoppable force with a spirit that refuses to surrender and we are all the better for it. I was lucky enough to watch Sharon and her band on Ellen playing ‘Stranger to My Happiness’ and I was thrilled to see her standing there, bald as a baby and full of the spirit that moves her.

Give the People What They Want is another amazing soul album that only exists because of find folks at Daptone. If you are just dipping your toes into the soul revival this is your gateway drug album, prepare to be moved.

The Changes Within

 Random Ranting  Comments Off on The Changes Within
Apr 022013

Listening to music used to require dedication and effort. Every 20 or 30 minutes you had to get up, pull the LP off of the turntable, flip, replace, and set the needle into the starter groove again. You had to maintain your records carefully or risk a scratched or skipping album, making it useless. There were also many advantages to vinyl, including far better sound quality than even CD. Before you stomp your feet up and down over that consider that most people listen to music on systems that so poorly recreate the recorded music they play as to alter it completely. On a good system vinyl is more dynamic, more alive, spacious, and closer to being there than CD, MP3, 16 – 42 FLAC, SACD, and DVD-A.

rp I have argued the wonders of vinyl before so I will move to the meat of this article. Digital files have all but removed my ability to listen to a complete album. I know that albums are not always thought of as single works of art in the digital age, which is a shame but even when I listen to older music now I spend more time picking through my collection song by song than I spend actually listening. Unless I am doing a review I either use or use an automated playlist. I have lost the ability to listen to a full album simply for enjoyment.

We live in a one off world where information and entertainment come in bite size chunks. At the same time virtually everything in our lives is being created to the lowest common quality factor you can get away with in court. This has changed how music is written, recorded, mastered, sold, played, collected… everything has changed.

I am making a point to listen to more full albums for pleasure, just kick back and enjoy. What is the last full album you listened to in a single sitting outside of your car?