Sharon Jones is the living embodiment of soul. That’s soul with a capital S. The Dap Kings are the conduit that brings that soul to life. And I Learned the Hard Way is their defining statement.
The follow-up to 2007’s 100 Days, 100 Nights, I Learned the Hard Way continues in the same revivalist tradition of its predecessor, but with a groove that’s deeper than seemingly possible. It is a breakthrough album years in the making; Jones and the Dap-Kings announce their arrival with a barreling bass line and bright bouncy horns, although an introduction seems unnecessary due to their to three earlier albums and a smoking-hot live show that instantly harkens back to James Brown in his prime.
But no worries; I Learned the Hard Way should convert the non-believers or the “didn’t knows.” The Dap-Kings have proven to be one of the most reliable, rock-solid backing bands around, creating a sonic landscape that seems to have exploded from the ‘60s. And with Jones’ dynamic charisma and unparalleled ability to channel that soul with her commanding presence and powerful voice, she and the Dap-Kings are ready to take you on a trip to that land of funk and soul.
I Learned the Hard Way is out now on Daptone Records.