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.
From the first track, a funk-infused shuffle, the Dap-Kings carve a deep and
heavy groove which only gets deeper and heavier as the needle cuts further into
the flesh of the album. Through ten solid tracks, "Naturally" explores the many
moods and tempos of a group that is quickly earning a reputation as one of the
hottest live acts across the nation, stretching their versatility to map out the
full panorama of the idiom in which they so effortlessly reside. They are able
to bring us back to 1970s not with the usual bell-bottomed conventions and
wah-wah clichés employed by so many retro-funk wannabes, but by reaching back to
the original source of all that good music: sincerity, integrity, melody, and an
unwavering loyalty to rhythm.
In arrangements punctuated by bold horns and tastefully accented with piano,
vibes, and strings, the Dap-Kings road-tight rhythm section expertly frames the
skeleton of a classic Soul album, breathing life into a body of songs penned
exclusively for Sharon Jones' unique voice. In turn, she masterfully and
instinctively reaches beyond the basic melodies into her gospel-soaked roots to
pour every drop of herself into each note that passes her lips, elevating the
music from craft to art. With every moan she reminds us that before Whitney,
Mariah, and Jay-Z, there was Tina, Aretha, and J.B.
Whether it's the hard-hitting funk of "My Man is a Mean Man" you crave or the
transporting balladeering of "Stranded" or "All Over Again", Sharon Jones & the
Dap Kings' "Naturally" is destined to occupy a permanent space in your heart and
in your record collection.
El Michels, baritone saxophone
Neal Sugarman, tenor saxophone
Dave Guy, trumpet
Homer Steinweiss, drums
Binky Griptite, guitar, emcee, back-up vocals
Boogaloo Velez, conga
Tommy "TNT" Brenneck, guitar
Bosco Mann, bass, piano, vibes, tambourine
• Vinyl LP
1. How Do I Let A Good Man Down?
2. Natural Born Lover
3. Stranded in Your Love (Feat. Lee Fields)
4. My Man is a Mean Man
5. You're Gonna Get It
6. How Long Do I Have to Wait for You?
7. This Land is Your Land
8. Your Thing is a Drag
9. Fish in the Dish
10. All Over Again