One of my favorites in recent years, the wonderful Sharon Jones captivated growing legions of audiences in the new millennium with her high-energy, charming personality and powerful voice on stages around the globe. A former security guard who made the big time, despite being told she was "too short, too fat, too old and too black", she worked hard for all of her success.
Born in Augusta GA, she grew up in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn. She contributed backing vocals to recording sessions before her work on a Lee Fields studio date convinced the producers that they had a special talent in Sharon. Her first featured cuts were with The Soul Providers and she cut some 45s for the pre-Daptone label Desco. Some of the 45s were bought by rare groove collectors who thought they were old records.
2002's Dap-Dippin' With Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings was the first release on the brand new Daptone label and both Sharon and the company built a widely visible brand of quality, well-produced retro funk & soul. Aside from her own increasingly successful albums, she has also performed with artists ranging from Phish to Michael Bublé to Lou Reed to Booker T Jones to Greyboy & Quantic.
I was fortunate enough to do a gig with her (as a DJ), as well as have her as a very memorable guest on my old Radio Clandestino program. I've seen the band on several occasions and they really helped bring the now-ubiquitous retro-soul thing to the mainstream. And she was a hell of a performer and a very kind person.
Here's the official video to one of Sharon's best-known songs:
A legitimate question:
A favorite Sharon 45 of mine is this Ticklah dub mix of "How Long":
Sharon and the Dap-Kings deep funk version of the Janet Jackson tune:
This one has her working with Quantic and Greyboy, Paul Nice on the tasty remix:
And here is some great live footage of the band in Paris, with Prince himself coming out to jam:
Here's one of Sharon's earlier features:
Sharon and the boys on a float during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade: