Terrible news! Sharon Jones has passed away, finally losing her battle with cancer. It was not a good sign when Miss Jones and the Dap-Kings had to cancel a European tour over the summer. But I had hope. She never gave up, performing right through cancer treatments, bald from chemo but still as energetic on stage as ever. But all things must pass. Jones helped build Daptone Records, which recognized her talent and gave her the artistic freedom she needed. Daptone will no doubt continue, in part as Jones's legacy.
Back in the nineties a recording company rep told Sharon Jones that she was "too fat, too black, too short and too old" to sign with them. She got the last laugh. In the 20 or so years since she's become the queen of 21st century soul. A "best of" for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings covering that period would be a boxed set of every recording they've made.
Miss Jones is the subject of a new documentary-- Miss Sharon Jones-- covering her story. It's a story that sounds like it could have been written for a movie. A former prison guard at Riker's Island in New York City who dreams of making it as a singer, and eventually does. For her first recording at Desco Records (a forerunner of DapTone) she came to the studio and recorded the song in uniform.
It's not all good news, though. Jones has battled with cancer for a few years now, seeming to beat it back only to have it return. Although reportedly doing well, she recently had to cancel a European tour for medical reasons.
The soundtrack for Miss Sharon Jones includes a new song, "I'm Still Here". It's Jones's autobiography, delivered in the most appropriate manner possible.