Miss Sharon Jones, Queen of Retro Soul

Miss Sharon Jones, who passed away from pancreatic cancer on November 18, 2016, may have not briefly conquered pop like the late Amy Winehouse, who famously used Jones’ band the Dap-Kings to make Back in Black. But unlike most of the unsung soul-blues world from which she emerged in 1996, when musician and producer Gabriel Roth plucked her out of a Lee Fields recording session, Jones eventually soared as an international headliner. Songs like “100 Days, 100 Nights” appeared on film and TV soundtracks and commercials. Her “Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects” became a holiday perennial. She became the subject of an inspirational, award-winning documentary about her fight against cancer, Miss Sharon Jones! And she collaborated with Lou Reed, David Byrne, and many others. Jones served as an influential rejoinder to an increasingly formulaic and electronic pop and R&B environment, and led a small revolution subsequently called “retro soul.” Indeed, it’s hard to imagine Adele, Aloe Blacc, Joss Stone, Leon Bridges or any other revivalist flourishing without the woman whose first Desco 7-inch preceded Back in Black by a decade, mentored fellow soul shouter Charles Bradley, and is Daptone Records’ biggest star. Sharon Jones may have been taken from this world too soon. But she got her due.