When reviewing the posthumous release of a legendary artist, it can be tempting to overlook any faults. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings album ‘Soul Of A Woman’, however, is difficult to critique.
Released on the anniversary of Sharon Jones’s untimely death, ‘Soul Of A Woman’ captures the very essence of her music. The first half of the album follows an upbeat style, reminiscent of raspy rhythm ‘n’ blues, sharp-edged funk, and early Motown. ‘Sail On!’ opens with Jones’s raucous exclamation “Oh No!” and the Dap-Kings reply with horns. The track, written by the Dap-Kings’ own Cochemea Gastelum tells the story of a lover who has come back to Jones, asking for help after failing to help her in the past; “two people stranded without a helping hand”.
The second half of the album harks back to the golden era of soul with gospel roots and orchestral interludes. In ‘Call on God’ Sharon Jones leans on the Universal Church of God gospel choir for the final goodbye to a lover not worth her tears; “So long, I’m moving on/ I won’t cry!”
After years of trying her hand at various jobs, whether it was a prison officer or van guard, thankfully Jones found her calling as a true soul artist, singing songs about heartbreak, empowerment, love and enduring strength.
Words: Hollie Ismail
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