Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings have made a holiday album as infectiously upbeat as it is soulful and funky.
Like the band’s overall throwback sound, standout Ain’t No Chimneys In The Projects seems at first like it could be a rediscovered 60s soul song (à la Spector), yet in fact it’s an original penned by Jones, who turns the theme of Christmastime poverty into a moving tribute to her mother. There’s a slow-grooving Silent Night, a lighthearted, educational and funky original Hanukkah song and the most rollicking version of White Christmas you’re likely to hear.
But what sets the collection apart is the lovely room sound and its imperfections: the resonance of soul/blues tune Please Come Home For Christmas (as the band takes a breather from the party), the giddy, casual magic of Big Bulbs and the deep horns closing the record on jazzy instrumental God Rest Ye Merry Gents.
It’s a holiday album that actually leaves you wanting more.
Top track: Ain’t No Chimneys In The Projects