Sharon Jones sadly died on this date in 2016 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. She was just 60 years old. The late great soul singer was born on May 4, 1956 in Augusta, Georgia, which is also the hometown of James Brown. Jones’ mother moved the family to New York City when Sharon was young and along with her siblings, Sharon would often imitate the Godfather Of Soul growing up in Brooklyn in the 1960s and ‘70s.
Jones also sang in church and picked up backing vocalist session gigs. For much of her early adulthood, however, music was not her full-time vocation and she worked jobs as a corrections officer at Rikers Island and as an armored car guard. It wasn’t until 1996 at the age of 40 that Sharon got her break when the vocalist caught the attention of future Daptone Records co-founder Gabriel Roth during a recording session as a backup singer for soul great Lee Fields.
Roth would go on to form a band, The Dap-Kings, to back Jones up and in 2002 launched Daptone Records with the release of Sharon’s debut album as a solo artist, Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. The critically acclaimed LP became a cornerstone work in the burgeoning funk and soul revival. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings followed with 2005’s Naturally, 2007’s 100 Days, 100 Nights and 2010’s I Learned the Hard Way.
Just weeks before I Learned The Hard Way arrived, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings performed at German music program Rockpalast’s Crossroads Festival in Bonn, Germany on March 21, 2010. The Dap-Kings lineup at the time consisted of longtime members tenor saxophonist (and Daptone co-founder) Neal Sugarman, guitarist Binky Griptite, drummer Homer Steinweiss, percussionist Fernando Velez, trumpeter Dave Guy, baritone saxophonist Cochemea Gastelum and touring bassist Hagar Ben Ari along with newcomers at the time guitarist Joseph Crispiano as well as “The Dapettes” backing vocalists Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan.
In true soul show fashion, guitarist Binky Griptite introduced Jones and led the band through a medley of her songs to warm up the crowd. Sharon takes the stage for “When I Come Home” and delivers a characteristically engaging and energetic performance of the song which appeared as a bonus track on I Learned The Hard Way and later on Soul Time!
Jones then turned to material from I Learned The Hard Way propper with “If You Call,” “Without A Heart,” “Give It Back,” “Money,” “The Game Gets Old,” the title track, “She Ain’t A Child No More,” “Mama Don’t Like My Man,” “Window Shopping” and “Better Things,” all told, 10 of the LP’s 12 tracks. Jones rounds out her set with “100 Days, 100 Nights,” a cover of the Solomon Burke classic “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” and more.
In honor of Sharon Jones, watch her entire Rockpalast Crossroads Festival performance in 2010 below:
Set: Betty Swan – Medley, When I Come Home, If You Call, Without A Heart, Give It Back, Money, The Game Gets Old, I Learned The Hard Way, She Ain’t A Child No More, Mama Don’t Like My Man, Window Shopping, Better Things, Jazz – Got To Be, 100 Days 100 Nights, Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, 100 Days 100 Nights