SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS

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I Learned the Hard Way (Dap­tone Records) There’s retro and then there’s the real thing. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are the real thing — they just hap­pen to be pound­ing out 1960s Mo­town soul hits in 2010. Recorded on an eight-track reel,

I Learned the Hard Way is straight-up time travel for any­one who grew up groov­ing to Otis Red­ding or the Plat­ters. The Dap-Kings are an eight-piece old-school R & B out­fit armed with an ab­surdly tight rhythm sec­tion. They pro­vided the largely un­cred­ited soul-funk sound to Amy Wine­house’s 2006 break­through al­bum, Back to Black. But the real lodestar is vo­cal­ist Sharon Jones, a for­mer disco, funk and gospel back-up singer who sup­ported her mu­sic habit for decades by work­ing as a prison guard and ar­mored-truck driver. That com­bustible mix of diva vo­cal the­atrics and take-no-crap at­ti­tude is at work on cuts like “Win­dow Shop­ping,” a slow-burn­ing, or­gan-heavy slam on a man who won’t stick around. Jones swims through a cas­cade of hand claps and doo-wop on “Bet­ter Things.” For the closer, “Mama Don’t Like My Man,” the only ac­com­pa­ni­ment Jones needs is a sin­gle re­verb-sat­u­rated gui­tar as she chan­nels bad-boy at­trac­tion and parental dis­ap­proval with lyrics like, “She don’t like the cig­a­rette he smokes, the com­pany he keeps, or the color of his jokes.” — Casey Sanchez

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