Videos by American Songwriter
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
It’s a Holiday Soul Party
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
There will be no silent nights when you invite Sharon Jones and her band into your home for the holidays. Jones and her Dap-Kings knock out a rhythmic, soulful set of holiday originals and rearranged covers that will make anyone’s holiday party substantially livelier.
She kicks off the festivities with the horn blasted “8 Days (of Hanukkah)” the album’s lone non-Christmas tune that includes nods to Manischewitz wine, brisket, dreidels, latkes and other words most of the Jewish faith will recognize. The set then shifts to Christmas for the next 10 tracks that include the boiling percussion of “Funky Little Drummer Boy,” the deep soul/blues of Charles Brown’s “Please Come Home for Christmas” and a tough, gospel/thumping version of “Silver Bells.”
The band takes cues from James Brown who famously sang “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” on Jones’ newly written “There Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects,” and uses the titles of other holiday tunes to create their own grinding “Just Another Christmas Song.” She defers lead vocals to band leader/longtime sidekick Binky Griptite for his own plea for world peace on the slightly schmaltzy “World of Love” and the band closes out with a sizzling instrumental cover called “God Rest Ye Merry Gents.”
At slightly over a half hour, your party will just be getting warmed up as the disc hits its final track, making you wish for more of what is here under your tree. That can be Jones and the Dap-Kings’ present to us next year; until then this provides a frothy, funky dose of R&B fun and a brimming Santa sack full of soulful, retro-styled holiday cheer.