Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens What Have You Done, My Brother?
Published May 24, 2009After almost single-handedly igniting the soul revival with Sharon Jones, Brooklyn-based Daptone Records has struck gold again with this debut full-length release by Shelton and company. Like her predecessor, Shelton has been known only to the most dedicated soul music aficionados until now, and she takes full advantage of this opportunity to step out on her own after over three decades of gigs and sessions as a backup singer. Although Shelton's material does emphasize gospel more than Jones's, the down-and-dirty support by label house band the Dap-Kings is never less than rocking. Their deft touch lends a distinct Sam Cooke feel to "I Need You To Hold My Hand" — the album closes with a cover of his "A Change Is Gonna Come" — while minor-key tracks like "What Have You Done" wouldn't have sounded out of place on an O.V. Wright release from the late '60s. But ultimately, Shelton is her own woman and she makes that clear with the thrilling call-and-response of "Am I Asking Too Much" and "By Your Side." This is healing music the way gospel was intended to be. (Daptone)