I Learned The Hard Way

Is I Learned the Hard Way a record or a museum exhibit? On the fourth album by Brooklyn's leading soul revivalists, the details are period-perfect: Every guitar scratch and brass blast sounds like it was teleported straight from 1965 or 1972. The Dap-Kings survey doo-wop ("Mama Don't Like My Man"), Philadelphia soul ("The Game Gets Old") and, most often, the thumping Stax/Volt sounds. Sharon Jones sings with force and feeling, but there's only so much she can do to breathe life into music so in thrall to the past. Call the Dap-Kings a band if you want — they're really connoisseurs.

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