Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sharon Jones + Charles Bradley

If James Brown was the hardest working man in show business, then Sharon Jones must be the hardest working woman. She shook, shimmied and boogalooed her way across the stage at the Barbican last night in a high energy show that was reminiscent of the sixties heyday of her inspiration, JB himself. Backed by the excellent Dap-Kings and vocal duo the Dap-ettes, Sharon never stopped moving and her retro soul/funk style was infectious. Her energy demands a stand up crowd, which is exactly what most of the audience did, although the venue is not suited to dancing (apart from half a dozen young ladies who were invited on stage at one point), which is what Sharon Jones is all about. I was very impressed when I first saw this 55 year old ball of fire in Lafayette, Louisiana, last year and she did not disappoint this time.
Kicking off with the smooth If You Call, Sharon launched into a string of high energy songs, many of them from her latest Daptone album (in vinyl as well as CD) I Learned The Hard Way, including Give It Back, the Prince song Take Me With U, When I Come Home, Longer and Stronger and I'll Still Be True. Midway through her act she moved into a frenetic series of sixties dances including the boogaloo, the jerk and the funky chicken, which must have exhausted the audience, never mind Sharon herself. She slowed things down with Mama Don't Like My Man, before tackling I'm Gonna Cry, Let Them Knock, the Northern soul styled Tell Me, I Learned The Hard Way and the excellent 100 Days, 100 Nights. After a short break she was persuaded by the enthusiastic crowd to return for an encore of It's A Man's World, and took us through some of JB's dance steps.
Opening the show for Sharon was fellow Daptone artist, the very soulful Charles Bradley, nicknamed the Screaming Eagle of Soul because of his swooping arm movements. Charles is no newcomer, having been through hard times for most of his 63 years, and his impassioned and heartfelt singing is a true throwback to the great sixties soul men. His set included deep soul songs that allowed him to show off his gritty voice to good effect, including Heartaches And Pain, No Time For Dreaming,Lovin' You Baby, This World Is Going Up In Flames, How Long, Golden Rule and the autobiographical Why Is It So Hard (To Make It In America.) I would love to see him in a sweaty club somewhere, rather than the staid surroundings of The Barbican, because his is an act that really gets into your soul.
Altogether excellent stuff all round and proof that true soul, like rock and roll, will never die.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home