Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Soul of a Woman
Although Sharon Jones’ ongoing battle with cancer was no secret, the news of her death in Nov. 2016 still came as a shock to anyone who loved this vibrant talent. Soul of a Woman is a fitting farewell, spotlighting a dynamic R&B singer who could croon tenderly like Otis Redding or shout with a ferocity worthy of Tina Turner. Backed by the ever-sure Dap-Kings, Jones tells vivid stories of everyday struggle and spiritual uplift that make tough times easier to bear. She’ll be missed.
If All I Was Was Black
On her third album collaborating with Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples adds another triumphant chapter to a career that began in the ‘50s when she was a member of the Staple Singers. Produced by Tweedy, who wrote or co-wrote all the songs, If All I Was Was Black addresses modern-day political and social ills in songs that artfully balance angry resistance and calls to positive action, blending gospel, rock and pop in a work that feels both timely and timeless. Check out the gentle “Peaceful Dream” or the rousing “No Time for Crying” and see if you don’t feel better right away.