It's hard to believe that Sharon Jones' debut LP is a product of the year 2002, for several reasons. Given the excellent singles she recorded for Desco beginning in the late '90s, it seems like she would have gotten the opportunity for a full-length sooner; plus, her brand of raw, heavy, hard-driving funk is such a throwback to the '70s, and she pulls it off so well, that you wonder how she could have escaped that decade without at least a few rare, classic 45s (in the vein of labelmate Lee Fields). It's not hard to believe she once made her living as a prison guard, based on the tough-as-nails, no-nonsense performances she belts out on Dap Dippin' With Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the first full-length release on Desco's descendant, Dap-Tone. Backed by the Dap-Tone house band (a conglomeration of studio pros with connections reaching back to the Desco orbit), Jones delivers a storming set of tunes that would have sounded perfectly at home on the James Brown's Original Funky Divas compilation. The style and quality are pretty consistent all the way through, but it's hard not to single out the nearly unrecognizable cover of Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done for Me Lately," which is transformed into a churning blast of funk full of biting guitars (and nary a synth or drum machine in sight). Other highlights include the chunky leadoff track, "Got a Thing on My Mind," the would-be dance-craze "The Dap Dip," the slow-burning "Make It Good to Me," and the trials-and-tribulations tale "Ain't It Hard." Plus, label head Gabriel Roth throws in his usual "authentic" trappings -- the fake live introduction running down Jones' "hits," the intentionally dated copy on the back cover -- that make the whole package even more fun. All in all, a terrific debut.
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
feat: Sharon Jones