Posted September 23, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes

Posthumous Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings Album Shows Off ‘Bad-Ass’ Band’s Range

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

Singer Sharon Jones tragically passed away in 2016 from pancreatic cancer, but her legend lives on with both her recordings and the memories she left behind.

On Oct. 23, Daptone Records will release Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In), a collection of previously unheard material by Jones and the Dap-Kings. The compilation includes five never-before-heard covers and other fan favorites that have been previously released in various formats, including lead single “Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours.”

These covers span acts ranging from Gladys Knight to Janet Jackson to Woody Guthrie. Over two decades, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings built a reputation as studio aces, and this album compiles some of their most popular, as well as completely unreleased, renditions.

Often, in an effort to save the expense of licensing an original master from a major label, a music supervisor may request a song be re-created as closely as possible. Such was the case when a well-known bank asked the band to cut Stevie Wonder’s classic, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” for a TV commercial, or when Hank Shockley asked for the band’s take on Bad Medicine’s “Trespasser” for the American Gangster soundtrack.

Both “Rescue Me” and “In the Bush” were among the outtakes on the cutting room floor of The Wolf of Wall Street soundtrack, for which the band recorded several unused sides. “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” was not just a remake of the Kenny Rogers’ First Edition hit, but more specifically a nod to Bettye Lavette’s 1968 version, and was notably the very first recording done at the Daptone House of Soul studio in 2002. Likewise, the band’s replay of Gladys Knight’s “Giving Up” was specifically requested but unused by a producer who was confident he needed it to sample for a beat on a Dr. Dre album.

“Little by Little,” “Inspiration Information,” “Here I Am Baby,” and “Take Me with U” were cut for tribute projects to Dusty Springfield, Shuggie Otis, the Marvelettes, and Prince, respectively.

There were also many covers over the years that the band cut of its own volition, starting with the complete re-invention of Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately” on 2001’s Dap-Dippin’ with…. According to a press release about the collection, “Sharon’s heart-wrenching take on Bob Marley’s early Wailers ballad, ‘It Hurts to be Alone,’ is a tender nod to the soul that Jamaica borrowed from the States in the early ’60s.”

Though the band has mostly built its career on a prolific catalog of originals, these forays into other artists’ compositions “lay bare their gift for arrangement and the unmatched studio prowess that earned them their reputation as the Baddest Band in the Land.”