Give the People What They Want by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Album number five from the inimitable Ms Jones and her Dap- Kings was slated for release last August, though these plans were put on hold when Jones was diagnosed with cancer in June. With the cancer now thoroughly licked, it’s time for soul sister number one and her crack band to get back to doing what they do better than anyone: namely, being the slickest, most bad-ass soul-funk outfit on the planet.

Album opener ‘Retreat!’ is a statement of intent if ever there was one and a song which has surely taken on new meaning since Jones’s grapple with illness. It’s classic Motown with a twist – all echo, big horns and bigger drums, and as Jones wails, ‘I’ll chew you up and spit you out’, consider yourself warned, be you an errant man or insidious disease.

Other highlights include the Northern soul stomper ‘Stranger To My Happiness’, and ‘We Get Along’, a message song which perhaps best encapsulates what makes these guys so damn special – the ability to draw on a form so firmly rooted in the past and place it smack bang in the here and now with complete authenticity.

Sharon Jones had her final chemotherapy treatment on New Year’s Eve and will soon return to performing live. If that ain’t soul I don’t know what is.

Declan Murphy is the music buyer at Readings St Kilda