The release on Friday, Nov. 17, of the new album Soul of a Woman by rhythm and blues superstar Sharon Jones &The Dap-Kings already is following the pattern of her past Daptone Records releases.
Each previous release for the Augusta native has begun with advance publicity. Then comes the flood of glowing reviews from media outlets and fan-generated websites around the world. All of that in the past has been followed by promotional concert tours, appearances on virtually all of the major daytime and late night talk shows and nominations at various awards shows.
The huge difference this time is that Jones died a year ago on Nov. 18, 2016, at age 60 of complications from a stroke and pancreatic cancer at a medical center in Cooperstown, N.Y., and isn’t around to enjoy the media and fan accolades.
Nevertheless, the responses to the release of Soul of a Woman have been immediate and overwhelmingly positive on such websites of Time, Rolling Stone and Billboard magazines and major dailies such as The New York Times, Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times.
You can buy the album through the usual websites, area stores and through sharonjonesandthedapkings.com.
Jones, who made her home in North Augusta the past five years of her life, has been an inspiration to people around the world. She didn’t begin achieving any amount of fame until in her late 40s when she hooked up with a virtually unknown band that would become the world-heralded Dap-Kings.
Yet she would be spotlighted on the Delta Air Lines float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, praised by celebrities who called her the “Queen of Soul,” have her recordings used in national TV commercials for Lincoln cars and Keurig coffee makers and top the bill as the headliner at such venues as the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Sydney Opera House.
Typical of praise forher new album can be found on the New York City-based website diandrareviewsitall.com, which notes, “Even in her ‘weakest form,’ she had more energy and heart than most of us will ever gain. It is that inner, holier force that drives her last album with The Dap-Kings.
“From Matter of Time to Searching For A New Day every chorus, string and rhythm is made with the idea that to sit in your seat is a travesty. Yet, then again, that is the motto of Sharon Jones &The Dap-Kings; why sit or even stand through life when you can dance through it.”
Mike Ayers writing for the Nov. 20 issue of Time magazine said, “Jones may not have caught a break in her career until later in her life. But Soul of a Woman, like her previous records, shows just how much greatness can be achieved in a short amount of time.”
Posted on The New York Times website is the review by Simon Vozick-Levinson noting,
“If you came across Soul of a Woman in a record store rack without knowing its back story, you might take it for a lost masterpiece from the 1970s.
“As always, that revivalist charm is part of Ms. Jones and the Dap-Kings’ achievement – but only part. At its best, this album is a reminder that hers was a singular voice, hard to ignore in any era.”
You can find on youtube.com videos posted of Jones performing both Matter of Time, the first cut on the album written by Dap-Kings show emcee and band member Binky Griptite, and Call On God, the last cut on the album written by Jones.
Over the past year since Jones’ death, there have been hundreds of remembrances posted by fans including that of local musician Carey Murdock who wrote on his blog, “I have never met anyone that fought for what she wanted in life the way Sharon did. Record executives had told her she was too black, too short, too fat and too old to ever come of anything.
“Through her hard work and determination, she wrote her own script and made her own career. She did not let other people’s assumptions, or cancer for that matter, be limiting factors on what she was going to do with her life.”
There have been concerts, celebration of life services and physical tributes around the world including an enormous portrait painted on an outside wall of the House of Blues in Boston. Now, as the anniversary of her death is observed on Nov. 18, it is up to those locally who loved and admired Jones to carry on her memories and musical legacy.
CELEBRATING HISTORICAL TIMES: The 21st annual Pioneer Day organized by the Lincoln County Historical Society will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at the society’s park at 147 Lumber St. in Lincolnton, Ga. If you go north on Washington Road (Georgia Highways 47 and 104), the park will be on your left just before the highway dead ends. It’s easy to miss the sign.
The free event of family entertainment offers living history demonstrations such as syrup making and grist mill grinding, Southern cooking and antique tractor and car shows.
If you like the Living History Park in North Augusta, you will love the similar theme park in Lincolnton with original historic buildings moved to the site beginning with the first in 1987 and the most recent added in 2010.
Lamar Wade, president elect of the historical society and entertainment coordinator, has arranged a short opening ceremony followed by the Lincoln County High School band. Following will be gospel music featuring local church choirs and entertainment by the Epps Family, Clarke Kesler and The Hillbillies in Training String Band led by David Donehoo.
For more information, contact Gary W. Edwards at (757) 831-9556 or visit the Lincoln County Historical Society’s Facebook page.
Meanwhile, you can attend the free Christmas in the Backcountry festival at the Living History Park in North Augusta, 299 West Spring Grove Ave., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25.
Celebrate the holidays as they did in the 18th century with handmade crafts for sale in the mercantile building.
Just a few days later the park will host its annual Christmas for the Birds event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, with attendees asked to bring apples, oranges and peanut butter for local birds and food for dogs and cats to be given to area pet adoption centers.
Cider and cookies will be served and story time will be held at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30 and 1:30. For more information, contact Lynn Thompson at (803) 279-7560 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.