It seems that 2007 was a year of a resurgence in interest of old-school Soul, Funk and R&B. Maybe it was the unexpected passing of Funk Brother #1 James Brown that caused people to look back at the music he influenced. We also saw the 50th Anniversary of Stax Records and the renewed interest that brought.
This year I reviewed two albums that honored the legacy of this style. On SciFidelity there was the Greyboy Allstars, and the Galactic album’s Nawlins-funk-meets-Indie-Rap. I also discovered the sometime Wu-Tang backing band the El Michels Affair on one of my Bins trips.
This year also saw the noveau-R&B release from gap-toothed, tattooed and beehive coiffed Amy Winehouse. Her producer Mark Ronson– aka the Wedding DJ to the Stars also released an album using the same backing band as the Winehouse record– the fantastic Dap-Kings from New York City for his covers album Version.
It’s the Dap-Kings who serve as the houseband for the temple of retro cool Daptone Records and serve primarily as the band for the amazing soul-diva Sharon Jones, whose 100 Days, 100 Nights is in constant rotation in my car. She’s been in a long tour since summer which included a stop at jamband festival Langerado where she brought the house down and has been selling out venues since.
Daptone is a record collector’s dream. All of their releases are on vinyl, CD and download– so take your pick! They are believers in the 7″ single, too and have quite a catalog of those to chose from. By the way, they have just brought some of the out-of-print 7-inches back into print, so run over there to get your hands on them!
Although I don’t picture a Scion Xb as being the appropriate car to pick Sharon Jones up for a date in– I tend to think of a gold 1969 Cadillac DeVille, really– the little brother division of Toyota has an appreciation for the singular vision of Soul that Sharon and her labelmates on Daptone keep.
Scion has apparently been producing sampler CD’s for a while— most of them about underground hip-hop it seems utilizing the most noted remixers and artists to compile them over their 19 CD run. I’ve been pretty impressed with Scion’s position as an affordable tuner car that attempts to identify with their consumer by providing an identity for the car and its fans/owners. These promotional sampler CD’s are available at Scion sponsored events, which would presumably include Hot Import Nights and maybe the Chicago Auto Show. The tracks are also available via iTunes and Rhapsody. In a really nice move, the production of the music was footed by Scion and all of the proceeds of the digital sales will go directly to Daptone! As cool as that is, I was a bit disappointed that only the Remixed CD and not the Originals was included for digital distribution– so I made an iMix in iTunes compiling the original tracks so you guys can get those, too. See the links below.
Volume 19 of the Scion Sampler series titled Daptone Records Remixed in its CD format is a 2-CD compilation of Daptone artists like Jones, The Budos Band, The Daktaris and the Sugarman Three. The first CD is the Remixes. Nine Daptone tracks manipulated by the likes of Mark Ronson, DJ Spinna, Hank Shocklee, Mad Professor, and Kenny Dope— all noted producers that bring their special flava to these vintage tracks. The second CD is a disc of the original tracks– a very nice touch. It gives you the ability to hear the songs in their original arrangements and places the remixes in the appropriate context. I have to say that the remixers really didn’t do anything dramatic to the tracks in most cases which shows the respect that they had for the songs. Really, the remixes are very nice compliments to the original tracks. Man, a really cool thing would be for Daptone to release 12″ vinyl with the original track on one side with it’s remix on the flip! It’s pretty clear that Daptone recognizes the larger-than-life personality and voice of Sharon Jones as the spokesperson for the label as every other song on this compilation is hers.
The remix of The Budos Band’s “Chicago Falcon” takes the instrumental track and adds Rap MC Wale over the top in a pretty straightforward old school-style sampling of the original track. This remix is done by Mark Ronson who’s partnership with the Dap-Kings I mentioned earlier.
The remix of Jones and the Dap-Kings “Keep On Looking” by Kenny Dope starts with an appropriate sample of Sharon singing “Break it down, break it down” followed by a break before bringing the song back in with a bumped up drum and bass beat. This is one of my favorite remixes on this record.
Appropriately enough, dub mastermind Mad Professor converts the afrobeat “Eltsugh Ibal Lasiti” by the Daktaris into a massive dub track maintaining the guitars and horns as the staples behind the beat. A really fun track that would be great to drop in a mix of reggae.
“Standing in Your Love” is a fun vintage-styled R&B duet between Sharon Jones and Lee Fields where two estranged lovers have to come to terms over a situation involving a stolen car. The “Sweet Nothing Mix” by Queens-native MC Cool Calm Pete transforms the song into a bitter kiss off.
Neal Sugarman is the sax player and leader of the Sugarman Three as well as the founder of Daptone Records. “Take It As It Come” featuring Charles Bradley is one of the label’s classic platters and its driving funk pays tribute to James Brown. Afrodisiac Soundsystem takes the instrumentals and samples them back to a staccato beat and dub stabs of sax and layers Charles’s vocals back over it showing how much of the song’s funk really comes from his delivery of the vocals.
“How Long Do I Have To Wait” by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings from their album Naturally always reminds me of the classic 1967 hit from Brenton Wood “Gimme Little Sign.” The remix by Ticklah aka Victor Axelrod brings the song to its knees in ska time. Victor is a member of the Easy Star All-Stars who put out the fantastic tribute record Dub Side of the Moon from 2003 as well as the Radiodread tribute. Victor is also a member of Antibalas whose 2007 release Security got a post-rock makeover from John McEntire. The vinyl version of their album Who Is This America? is on Daptone records.
Next up is another track from the fantastic Budos Band— the smoky “T.I.B.W.F” and its Ray Manzarek sounding keyboard. The remix is done by none other than Timebomb Squad founding member Hank Shocklee. He extends the song another minute and gives it a loping beat focusing on the horns and guitar. He breaks the song down in the middle and helpfully explains “This is A Remix.”
Sharon comes back exclaiming that her “Man is A Mean Man” with its fast tempo shuffling beat. DJ Spinna samples the drums and pulls them out of the left channel and shifts them front-and-center giving it a more “funky drummer” feel and helping anchor this song in a more dance-friendly form and extending the song out past six minutes. Spinna accomplished this by adding a break-down section pulling in vocals and instruments in pieces. DJ Spinna does one of my favorite remixes from the Quannum catalog. He does a great remix of Lyrics Born’s track with the Poets of Rhythm “I Changed My Mind.” By the way, I noticed that the Poets who were discovered by Lyrics Born moved from Quannum to Daptone!
The final track is the Bull Jun remix of the Sugarman Three and Co’s “Bosco’s Blues” that has Large Professor rapping over the last half of the song. His call out to Daptone and the listeners is a nice way to wrap up, I think. This is the first mix on the record to include scratching, which is odd.
For a cross-marking item like this I am impressed with the quality– it wasn’t thrown together like an afterthought. All of the tracks are quality efforts from the producers and really has some details that make this a real gem! I did my best to provide what I think are important details about this release. Unfortunately, there isn’t much for liner notes to this record other than the press release and the two paragraphs in the CD version.
Click Here to Order the Daptone Remixes from iTunes
Daptone Originals iMix to Order the Daptone Originals iMix from iTunes