The needle drops on Genuine Pts. 1 & 2, a supercharged funk arrangement that evokes the late Godfather not only with the spirited syncopation of the Dap-Kings rhythms, but also with the raw power of Jones’ voice. It is performances such as these that have earned her the moniker “the Female James Brown.” Though it has long been one of their best-selling singles, it makes it’s album debut here. Longer and Stronger, written for her 50th birthday, is a deep mid-tempo soul celebration of the strength and determination with which Sharon Jones has earned her long overdue success. It is heard here for the first time, but will undoubtedly join other Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings songs in the canon of great soul music. The theme of empowerment pushes on through “He Said I Can”, an energetic stomper belted over an arrangement reminiscent of the Isley Brothers early-seventies heyday, and “I’m Not Gonna Cry” brings us back to the raw funk intensity of Genuine with a squealing tenor solo and a fiery vocal. Side one wraps with a scorching studio performance of “When I Come Home”, long a highlight of the band’s live show but rearing its head on album here for the first time as well.
“What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes?” kicks the second side off with a bang. A strong anti-war message pours over a revolutionary mid-tempo groove, accentuated by the conga work of the legendary Johnny Griggs of JB’s fame, while Settling In is a greasy rhythm and blues grinder. And who says Christmas can’t be soulful? Jones et al. make it so over their sought after holiday exclusive, “Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects.” Next is an energetic romp into Motown intensity with “New Shoes”, a walking-out-the door belter that picks up where These Boots Were Made For Walking left off. Without A Trace shows yet another dimension of the band, stretching a dreamy mid-tempo groove down the road to Memphis and back. The record winds up with a deep laid back cover of Shuggie Otis’ psychedelic soul jam “Inspiration Information.” From the first note to the last, Soul Time! confirms this band’s place at the head of the table as the world’s greatest funk and soul showband. Whether you’re a lifetime fan, or just getting turned on, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings’ have yet again made a record that will blow your mind. Get ready world, because It’s Soul Time!