Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sharon Jones

The album cover for 100 Days, 100 Nights (2007) was my first exposure to Sharon Jones.

I had yet to hear a note of her singing or the Dap-Kings' playing, but even so: what was there not to love about this album? A gorgeous woman in a retro-frame that called to mind the soul and funk legends of yore -- the material within was either going to be a failed pose (in which case, thanks for the eye-candy) or a triumphal delivery on its promise.

The album delivered, and how. Listening to the music prompted further meditation on the cover. How old was this woman? I'd never dare to guess, her performance made the task too formidable. Her voice suggested experience beyond the merely mortal, even as the energy behind it was the very essence of youthful vitality.

Jones and the Kings got better with every album. The shows were another reality altogether. People who went to see her were glad they did. A consummately generous performer, gone at 60.

Too generous to be chasing after crowns -- Aretha may be the undisputed Queen of Soul, but Sharon Jones was surely its most spectacular ambassador. You know where to find her stuff. Give it a spin, won't you?

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