Song Of The Day 11/19/2016: Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – “What Have You Done For Me Lately”

Quarterly Covers Report -- Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings' "100 Days 100 Nights," which I heard for the first time about 9 years ago at the Zune offices, is a song I associate with my return to Seattle to start raising a family in earnest. It was fresh and new enough that it's stamped as an emblem for my time here. To only a slightly lesser extent, so is her 2010 song "Better Things." Anyone who knows me to a middling extent know this is the kind of music I run headlong into. It evokes two time periods for me: the general era it came out, and my childhood when the form itself had just reached perfection. For a while I've been feeling that Jones and some of her contemporaries -- Charles Bradley, Lee Fields -- weren't just bringing back a form of music almost everyone can agree is great, but passing its truths to new R&B artists in what's really been an understated golden age of the form. More recently I've been sensing or projecting a death knell for a lot of arts I cling to dearly. While that's probably scare tactics working on me, it's never felt closer to true than it does lately.

Sharon Jones passed away yesterday after a well-documented battle with pancreatic cancer at age 60. Her songs were absolute killers. Her band rose above the pastiche label and seemed to be the most satisfied backup unit on the planet. There was nothing she couldn't make you believe in on a deep level. I was fortunate to see her do those two songs above in person a few years ago. It never struck me for a minute that she wouldn't survive. But in this season of gut checks, this is one that hits deep. Rest in peace Ms. Jones.

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