I Learned the Hard Way (Bonus Version)
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
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It’s hard at times to believe that this album wasn’t mixed in 1967 by Stax Records producers. In “The Game Gets Old” Jones inflects with passion and verve over the timeless tones of a string section, brass horns and vintage guitars played with finesse. The title track makes for an organic hit as it inadvertently schools Amy Winehouse with the commanding authenticity of a bygone Aretha Franklin hit. The Dap-Kings bestow “Better Things” with a loose bounce and a tight strut seemingly learned from studying the rhythmic disciplines of early recordings by The J.B.’s and The Meters. The sinister swagger of “Money” plays like Etta James crooning for Curtis Mayfield’s band as Jones feverishly muses on the blessings and curses of the all-American dollar. But I Learned the Hard Way isn’t just for those vinyl hounds who hunt down obscure Marva Whitney records; the album has the power to connect with anyone who has ever looked for comfort, familiarity and substance in a song.
Formed: 2001 in Brooklyn, NY
Years Active: '00s, '10s