Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, 'I Learned the Hard Way' (Daptone)

7
I Learned the Hard Way
Critical Mass
Label: Daptone

by Lindsey Thomas

The biggest development on this Brooklyn soul group's fourth album is the inclusion of backup singers on several tracks -- not that Jones needs an echo to get her point across. The added vocalists flesh out the simple bed of guitar and handclaps on the crestfallen "Mama Don't Like My Man," and play her pragmatic foils on "Money," barking, "Whatcha gonna do?" while she pleads in a Tina Turner rasp for the green stuff to stick around. Supporting players the Dap-Kings -- tight and energetic as ever -- even tackle the laid-back instrumental groove of "The Reason" with horns blazing.

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