Give the People What They Want

The latest by retro-soul queen Sharon Jones opens on bass-drum thunder and orchestral chimes, like an Ennio Morricone fanfare for a lawman returned to settle scores. That's appropriate for Jones, who's been battling pancreatic cancer but sounds utterly unbowed. "Retreat!" is a funky warning to a cocky suitor, and "Making Up and Breaking Up" is all echo-chamber slow groove and girl-group backing vocals, sublime in period accuracy and in-the-moment passion. A dozen years in, her brass-powered group is both extending and preserving tradition; it remains a national treasure and an instant soul party.

From The Archives Issue 1201: January 30, 2014