Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings Naturally

From the packaging to the sounds within, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings thankfully remember the times when soul music actually had soul. You really wouldn’t have a difficult time convincing an unsuspecting listener that Naturally was recorded in 1966 rather than present day. Especially when hearing the gorgeous love ballad that is "Stranded with Your Love” with Lee Fields joining Jones in the "man vs. woman” domestic dispute style of blues that you simply don’t hear in modern recordings anymore. There simply isn’t a single weak moment on Naturally as Sharon Jones and her eight-piece backing band knock out a variety of styles from straight up deep funk to emotional slow jams to the fast-paced soul explosions that will have even the most athletic rug-cutters gasping for breath. Of course the track that has been giving these Daps the most attention of late makes an appearance on this short album. Sharon Jones’ cover of Woody Guthrie’s "This Land is Your Land” has been dropped by numerous disc jocks since its Rewind appearance and still remains one of the group’s best numbers to date, but the fact that every song on Naturally is a contender is quite a remarkable feat. The sad thing is that records like this used to be made hundreds of times over before R&B was watered down to vocal gymnastics set to handclaps. But in 2005 it just makes Sharon Jones and her crew shine that much brighter. (Daptone)