Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

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Despite her top billing on Dap Dippin' With Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (2002), singer Sharon Jones was essentially a figurehead. The album was yet another showcase for the gritty New York funk-revival band led by bassist-producer Gabriel Roth (aka Bosco "Bass" Mann), though Jones gave the taut, propulsive, unapologetically retro grooves a healthy dash of soul charisma. Success on the road, however, seems to have shifted the balance of power. The group's excellent new album, Naturally (Daptone), belongs to Jones: her impressive stylistic breadth (she's a longtime session vocalist) is on full display, and the Dap-Kings respond with a flexibility never suggested in their earlier work. While there's still plenty of furious uncut funk--such as a slow-burn take on "This Land Is Your Land" that includes a largely forgotten but critical verse spelling out Woody Guthrie's socialist message--I'm most drawn to the soul-streaked stuff. "You're Gonna Get It" is a soft-toned southern-fried ballad, "How Long Do I Have to Wait for You?" a brassy protodisco strut; "Stranded in Your Love" pairs Jones with Lee Fields, her male counterpart in the neofunk world, for an irresistibly conversational duet. Fri 2/18, 10 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $12 in advance, $14 day of show. The group also plays a free in-store at 12:30 PM Friday at Tower Records, 2301 N. Clark, 773-477-5994.

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