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Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

Sharon Jones (photo by Christopher Garcia Valle, PR)

Sharon Jones (photo by Christopher Garcia Valle, PR)

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Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In)
Daptone Records

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since the untimely death of soul singer Sharon Jones. The Augusta, Georgia native, who grew up in the Bronx, lost her hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer on November 18, 2016. She was just 60 years old.  Thankfully, the powerful music she made with the rock solid band, the Dap-Kings, will live on forever; a constant reminder of the immense talents of Jones and her inspirational perseverance in the face of her personal and professional struggles.

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In), a new compilation of covers from Jones and the Dap-Kings, is the second posthumous release of music from the Brooklyn-based Daptone label. It follows 2017’s Soul Of A Woman, Jones’s final album. It brings together 13 songs which run the gamut from previously unheard covers with others that were previously released. These include songs that were recorded for commercials, television and movies.

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In) opens with a take on Stevie Wonder’s massive 1970 hit, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.” It's a tune that Jones & the Dap-Kings were approached to record for use in a television commercial.

The band’s work in film music is represented by the instrumental “Trespasser,” initially recorded in 1974 by the Syracuse-based funk/soul band Bad Medicine. The Dap-Kings recorded it specifically for the soundtrack to the movie “American Gangster.”

“Rescue Me,” first released by Fontella Bass in 1965, and Musique’s 1978 song, “In The Bush,” were both whipped up for the movie “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” only to be left out of the film. Van McCoy’s oft-covered “Giving Up,” a hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1964, was offered for sampling purposes for a Dr. Dre album, but ultimately not used.

Other songs present include a rendition of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “It Hurts To be Alone” and Mickey Newbury’s “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” which was recorded by the First Edition (featuring Kenny Rogers), Jerry Lee Lewis, Bettye LaVette, Newbury and others.

There are four songs recorded for a variety of tribute projects, including Dusty Springfield’s “Little By Little,” Shuggie Otis’s “Inspiration Information,” the Marvelettes’ “Here I Am Baby” and Prince’s “Take Me with U.” Perhaps the most rigorous reimagining from Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings is Janet Jackson's “What Have You Done For Me Lately,” which comes from the group's 2001 debut album, Dap-Dippin’ With… Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.

The material on Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In) puts the interpretive skills and killer musicianship of the Dap-Kings front and center and it serves as a testament to their versatility as a band as they effortlessly tackle a wide ranging variety of genres. Of course, Jones’ talents will never be forgotten, making this collection a powerfully poignant reminder of how blessed we were to be able to experience her gifts firsthand.

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In) is currently available digitally and will be released on LP, pressed on transparent blue with black splatter-colored vinyl.

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