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Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: I Learned the Hard Way

Suddenly, pop music is reaching back to styles from the past. Free Energy is reclaiming 1970s power-pop. She & Him recently revisited 1960s variety-pop. Now Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings are reminding us what was great about 1960s soul.

I Learned the Hard Way is built around good old-fashioned singing. You won't find the big beats and dense production that dominate Top 40 hits. You'll just hear Jones' smooth and passionate voice crooning about heartache.

"The Game Gets Old" reflects, with fatigue and resignation, on the unfulfilling quest for love. Jones' vocals are punctuated by all the classic elements of soul - a rising and falling horn section, restrained drums and bass and a chorus of female backup singing.

Love isn't the only unreliable force Jones confronts. "Money" personifies the cold, hard side of cash. "Money, why don't you like me?" she ponders on this blistering and emotional blues track.

Listen to this album to learn the way 1960s soul still resonates in 2010.

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