Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: Soul Of A Woman

Soul of a Woman, the posthumous release by soul-legend, Sharon Jones is cause for celebration. With the support of her long-time band, The Dap-Kings, Jones left the world a gift before she departed. Despite the morbid undertones of a posthumous release, Soul of a Woman is a joyful collection of songs. Jones doesn’t dwell on death, instead opting to offer hope to the world she was imminently leaving behind. Not the sort of thing you expect from someone dying of pancreatic cancer.

Kicking off without preamble, first track, Matter of Time, is a triumphant song about peace. With blaring horns, gospel-like back-up singing, and a tight combo of drums, guitar and bass, Matter of Time sets the tone of the album. Similar jaunty numbers, such as Sail On and Rumors are also straight to the point, conjuring the soulful singing of artists like Aretha Franklin and Mavis Staples. Still, there is variation from track to track. Slower songs like Just Give Me Your Time and Pass Me By are sparser, with minimal accompaniment adhering to a tight groove. Overall, the album flows nicely until final track Call on God caps things off with an absolutely stellar song and performance. Stylistically, the album doesn’t venture into unknown territory, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but as a result, it has the quality of a timeless piece of music ­— something that is bound to endure.

As is the case with newly deceased artists, there is a tendency to spew praise that was withheld during their lifespan. The posthumous releases by Leonard Cohen and David Bowie were certainly extolled. Maybe it has something to do our reverence for the dead, or our penchant for nostalgia, or perhaps (as is doubtless the case with Cohen and Bowie) the belated praise was well warranted, fully deserved, and (as is the case with Jones) long overdue.

- Jonathan Cloumassis.

Album Details

Album Title: Soul Of A Woman
Artist: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Record Label: (Daptone)