Listen to Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings' <i>I Learned the Hard Way</i> Now on

BY David DacksPublished Apr 6, 2010

It seems as if Sharon Jones never goes away. This is not a cynical statement - it simply reflects the R&B dynamo never dropping off the collective groove radar, thanks to her frequent touring, occasional movie and Saturday Night Live appearances, and oddly effective collaborations with the likes of David Byrne, Michael Bublé and Lou Reed. But it's actually been three years since her last studio album, and I Learned the Hard Way recharges her concert set list in a serious way.

To see for yourself, click here, where Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings' latest will be streaming all week on

This time around, there were some 20 songs to choose from to come up with the killer diller running order featured on the album, due out Tuesday (April 6) on Daptone Records. It's a more diverse sound than Jones's last album 100 Days, 100 Nights, which cleaved to the Stax/Volt sound of the '60s.

I Learned the Hard Way sounds like a travelogue of soul, with stops in the regional styles made famous in Philadelphia, Miami, New York and Chicago. Strings abound and backing vocals come in a number of different flavours. Throughout, the Dap-Kings further their effortless retro-soul sound; even the occasionally grandiose arrangements find them right in the pocket like the great studio orchestras of decades past. Elsewhere, the sound is stripped down and loose, especially on the album's closer "Mama Don't Like My Man." And as you can see, even the cover art captures the spirit of the '60s.

No doubt, an extensive North American tour will also showcase Jones and the Dap-Kings in their best light.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings' I Learned the Hard Way will be streaming on until April 12.

Stay tuned for these future full album streams on

Roky Erickson and Okkervil River True Love Cast Out All Evil on April 13 to April 19
Caribou Swim on April 20 to April 26
The New Pornographers Together April 27 to May 3
Holy Fuck Latin May 4 to May 10

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