Okay, so I’m a 51-year-old man with two grown children who enjoys keeping up with modern popular music. This blog is intended for people like me who wish to grow musically but have roots in an earlier era. It’s sub-title is loosely derived from “Songs to Aging Children Come” a Joni Mitchell song that didn’t make the top ten but was made popular in the soundtrack for the film Alice’s Restaurant (1967). It was later adapted as the title for an oldies radio show that ran on the mostly classical NPR radio station WETA 90.9 FM for many years in Washington, D.C., where I grew up.
But this blog is NOT a celebration of oldies, much as I love them. I will be writing and inviting discussions about about contemporary popular music. I was recently approached by a friend who wanted to learn more about post-1970s music. As I have aged, I've noticed that many friends continue to listen solely to the music we grew up with. Great as that music was, I want to introduce them to new artists who are doing interesting and creative work.
So, let’s get started.
If you are like me, you like the honest, rhythmic melodies of old R & B. I’m referring to the sound you would expect to hear from early James Brown or various artists on Stax Records (remind me to tell you about my visit to the Stax museum in Memphis). Well, that tight funky sound is back. Check out Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. I’ve been following them for a while, and they keep getting better and better. Sharon Jones has a wonderfully soulful voice that conveys her understanding of R&B as well as gospel, which is the sound she hails from. Her timing and vocal control define the band. She also knows how to put on a terrific live show. Her Dap Kings lay down the type of groove her voice expects and deserves. They also have served as the backup band for Amy Winehouse, the tattooed, troubled, troubadour of recent critical acclaim and infamous news stories.
Sample Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings in action in a music video of their sassy anthem, "100 Days, 100 Nights."
Also, check out their brand new album, I Learned the Hard Way, so cool it's currently being featured at Starbuck's. As Melena Ryzik writes in her April 23 ,2010, column for the New York Times, "Sharon Jones is, as the saying goes, the real deal."