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Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Desco: the early yearsThe original incarnation of the band, the Soul Providers, were formed in the mid-1990s by Philip Lehman and Gabriel Roth, AKA Bosco Mann. The Soul Providers began recording an album consisting of James Brown inspired instrumentals and vocal collaborations with Deep Funk recording artist Lee Fields. During these sessions Roth and Lehman discovered vocalist Sharon Jones after she recorded backing vocals for a Fields track. They were impressed enough to record a solo track with Jones entitled "Switchblade", a track that had originally been intended for a man to record. This track along with another Jones solo, "The Landlord", were included on the Soul Providers debut release Soul Tequila, released circa 1996 on the French label Pure Records (defunct). Lehman and Roth then started a new label in Brooklyn, New York. Desco Records was born taking its name from Desco Vacuum, a vacuum cleaner store in West 41st Street underneath which they utilized the basement as studio space and an office to administer and distribute the label. Sugarman 3 organist Adam Scone just happened to live upstairs in the same building. The Soul Tequila album was then reissued as a vinyl only LP renamed Gimme The Paw. The record, which featured Lehman's pet dog Spike on the cover, only kept one of the Sharon Jones collaborations, "Switchblade", omitting "The Landlord".Having established a scene in New York of performers, Desco aimed to showcase a stable of artists with revue style shows and concentrated on releasing vinyl 45 records by a number of artists including Sugarman 3, The Daktaris, The Mighty Imperials, Naomi Davis & The Knights of 41st Street, Lee Fields, Joseph Henry and Sharon Jones, who backed by the Soul Providers who had become the Desco house band, released three 45's on the label. Desco Records were gaining intrigue and reputation for quality amongst soul/funk collectors and enthusiasts. Many people who bought the early records were unsure that they were modern recordings as recording dates were deliberately omitted from the labels and were often marketed as being released in the 1970s. Two other Soul Providers albums were released, an instrumental soundtrack to a mysterious Sam Lung Kung-Fu film, The Revenge Of Mr Mopoji, credited to Mike Jackson And The Soul Providers and a Lee Fields solo album Let's Get A Groove On where the Soul Providers provided the backing.Daptone: a new label and the birth of the Dap-KingsIn 2000, due to a growing difference of opinion, Lehman and Roth decided to go separate ways and both set up new labels. Philip Lehman set up Soul Fire Records (now defunct, the back catalogue is handled by Truth & Soul Records). Gabriel Roth went on to start Daptone Records with Sugarman 3 saxophonist Neal Sugarman. The Soul Providers split and a new band, the Dap-Kings formed. The band consisted of label owners Roth, AKA Bosco Mann, on bass and Neal Sugarman on saxophone, plus original Soul Providers: guitarist Binky Griptite, organist Earl Maxton, percussionist Fernando Velez and trumpeter Anda Szilagyi. Joining them were original members of the Mighty Imperials whose album, Thunder Chicken, was the last release on the Desco label: tenor saxophonist Leon Michels and drummer Homer Steinweiss.Having secured a summer residency at The Boite, a club in Barcelona, Spain, the band recorded an LP, Dap Dippin' with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings in 2001. A few hundred copies were pressed, so that sales during the residency would provide financial backing on what would have otherwise been a financially disastrous trip. With promotional copies reaching notable funk DJs and reviewers, the album gained a significant reputation and was officially released as the first LP and CD on Daptone Records in 2002 to universal acclaim amongst enthusiasts. In their review at the time, quarterly hip-hop and funk magazine Big Daddy (defunct) suggested that it might be the best new funk album ever, credited Roth with being "one of the best analogue producers there is" and stated "this LP is a major triumph and a new standard has been set".Following the album, three 45s not included on the album were also released: "What If We all Stopped Paying Taxes", released in 2002 just ahead of the U.S. Election, was a militant anti-war statement denouncing the Iraq War. "Genuine (parts 1 & 2" (2004) was an uncompromisingly hard funk record which firmly kept the interest of enthusiasts. And their cover of "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)", released in 2005, was apparently recorded for a KFC commercial in 2002 but was never used.

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