Soul of a Woman by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Sharon Jones was an amazing woman who lived a hard life. As I wrote in my review of her and The Dap-Kings’ fantastic album Give the People What They Want (#12 in 2014):
Jones has a storied history herself, having been nothing more than a backup singer throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s. She spent her days as a corrections officer at Rikers Island and an armored car guard for Wells Fargo.
I’m sad to report that Ms. Jones passed away in November 2016, due to pancreatic cancer that she had been battling since 2013. But her music truly lives on, with this posthumously released eighth album, Soul of a Woman. Watch the video for Sail On! and you’ll see the shrouded in shadow Jones singing into a mic wearing a baseball cap over her chemo-therapy-induced bald head. But her voice never wavered. In the video for “Call on God” she is a little more prominent, so you can get a better feel for the woman behind the voice.
Bottom line, Sharon Jones was a powerhouse. Check out this performance by the band at the grand opening of KEXP’s new home, in April 2016 (just 7 months prior to her passing). What she and the Dap-Kings were able to create is the best, and that’s why I have their final album here in the Top 5.
I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more from the Dap-Kings — they’ve been the backup band for many different acts, including David Byrne and St. Vincent on their album Love This Giant, which was #15 in 2012. But there can be no more Sharon Jones to come, we’ve heard it all. She will be sorely missed, and I will thoroughly enjoy listening to her music for the rest of my life. May she rest in peace.
6. Relaxer by Alt-J
7. Hot Thoughts by Spoon
8. Colors by Beck
9. Mental Illness by Aimee Mann
10. The Wild by The Rural Alberta Advantage
11. american dream by LCD Soundsystem
12. Crack-Up by Fleet Foxes
13. Famous Last Words by The True Loves
14. Cry Cry Cry by Wolf Parade
15. Pure Comedy by Father John Misty
16. Shake the Shudder by !!!
17. La La Land (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by La La Land
18. The Underside of Power by Algiers
19. What Now by Sylvan Esso
20. 50 Song Memoir by The Magnetic Fields
21. Plunge by Fever Ray
22. DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar
23. Capacity by Big Thief
24. The Tourist by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
25. CCFX EP by CCFX
26. Woodstock by Portugal. The Man
27. MASSEDUCTION by St. Vincent
28. On the Spot by Hot 8 Brass Band
29. A Deeper Understanding by The War on Drugs
30. Planetarium by Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, & James McAlister
31. A Moment Apart by Odesza