Soul fans lamenting a dearth of vintage downhome R&B and funk in the new millennium have clearly never heard Brooklyn's Sharon Jones. Put out by the Brooklyn label Daptone and backed by the label's house band, the Dap-Kings, Jones's music references the glory days of Stax and Atlantic Records and is rife with the organic grooves of Muscle Shoals. Jones didn't begin recording until roughly middle age, and her life experience rings true in her deep, gritty vocals. Through their work with Jones, the Dap-Kings developed a reputation in their own right as one of the finest instrumental backing bands around, and supported notorious new-soul diva Amy Winehouse on her 2006 breakthrough, BACK TO BLACK.
Picking up where the debut album "Dap Dippin" left off, this highly anticipated album from soul chanteuse Sharon Jones and her incredible band The Dap Kings, features 11 tracks of pure, smokey soul and funk.
Sometimes it takes a Sharon Jones to remind us that being a great performer is not necessarily the same as being a great Gap model, and vice versa. To believe the hype, exterior aesthetics kept this soul/funk singer from getting the recognition she deserved early in her career. Now she’s pushing 50, but Naturally (Jones’ second full-length album with the Dap-Kings) proves that she can still sing circles around just about anything in hot pants.
When it comes to running down the great songs on this CD, it’s hard to know where to begin. "How Long Do I have to Wait for You" is as smooth and winning as the irresistible lovers Jones sings about on many of these tracks. Most of the material deals with matters of the heart, although Jones’ rendition of Woody Guthrie’s "This Land is Your Land" reveals her political side. (In live performances Jones goes even further, singing a plan to stop paying taxes.) "Stranded in Your Love" is like a warm-weather version of "Baby It’s Cold Outside." And the big romantic finish on this album, "All Over Again" must immediately be taken up as the new, must-play, wedding dance song. Naturally is a gift to R&B and should help the genre win new fans--with an album this infectious, you’d have to be made of stone to resist the funk. --Leah Weathersby
Following up her excellent 2002 debut, Sharon Jones stays true to the formula she laid down on her early releases and Dap Dippin' by presenting another session of full-force funk that pays homage to the genre's glory years without coming off as contrived. The deep funk revival continues with Jones belting out commanding vocal performances that are uncompromisingly forceful yet full of rich, soulful emotion. It's a session worthy of being found in any beat-miner's record collection and any funk enthusiast's basket of obscurities and rarities. Her cover of "This Land Is Your Land" is equally as impressive, as she somehow takes the song from being an American folk standard and turns it into a full-on sonic explosion. Fans of her earlier work will no doubt find great joy in this follow-up, and those seeking Jones out for the first time certainly will not be disappointed in what they find. -AllMusic Guide
If You Enjoy "Naturally (CD)", May We Also Recommend: