Soul of a Woman
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings were, to me, first and foremost a live act – an incredible live act – and she (and expert soul-stylists, The Dap Kings) were never quite able to capture that sort of magic in the studio. She was always in decent-enough voice and they’re great, great players – even if you could almost spot the baking paper they used to trace around previous and existing soul shapes. But once or twice they got close enough to nailing a great album. And maybe it’s easy to say this now – R.I.P. – because this album arrives posthumously but Soul of a Woman stands as a fine example of everything Jones and the Dap Kings would get right in the recording studio.
Those dreamy guitar lines and perfect horn and drum stops on a creamy-lush soul ballad like Just Give Me Your Time, the spot on but never quite too slick backing from the band on Come And Be A Winner, Jones driving it home on strong soul stormers like the opener her, Matter of Time.
These are all good things. And maybe we are going to hear them this way because this is Jones’ final statement. But there were other albums in her discography that stood up.
But certainly this needs to be viewed and heard as a celebration – of all that Jones was good at doing, from Motown-styled feel-good pop soul (Rumors) to the Stax feel of Search For A New Day and Girl! (You Got To Forgive Him) and the churchy-organ gospel feel of Call On God.
A lovely reminder of a rare talent. A perfect swansong. A strong finale. She’ll be missed in so many ways. But playing this brings it all back I guess.