Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, I Learned the Hard Way [Daptone]

Every once in a while a must-have disc just slips by us.

Every once in a while a must-have disc just slips by us. Earlier this year, the band that became famous for backing Amy Winehouse—featuring the singer who reportedly inspired her to sing— put out this disc of original ’60s- and ’70s-style soul/R&B, and if you care at all about what happened back in Motown, Stax, or Muscle Shoals, it’s essential. Bassist Bosco Mann (a.k.a. Gabriel Roth) is also the producer, so he gets the credit for the amazingly accurate throwback sonic production. As a player he evokes the simpler end of the vintage soul spectrum— more David Hood and Duck Dunn than James Jamerson—and he puts the bass ever-so-slightly back in the mix, just as they did in the day. Meanwhile, Sharon Jones wails like a hybrid of Tina Turner, Ann Peebles, and Mavis Staples; the lush arrangements are slathered with strings, horns, backing vocals, and percussion; and the groove in tunes like “Money” and “Better Things” is fierce enough to make you jump off the couch and kick the coffee table over to make room for dancing, even if you’re alone. As for how we missed it, better late than never.


Derek Frank, Let The Games Begin []

The trendsters say the ’80s are hot right now, but Los Angeles sideman vet Derek Frank is having none of that on his supergroovy debut album Let The Games Begin. Right from the bass-anddrums- only downbeat of disc opener “Breakout,” it’s an unapologetic, bassdrenched homage to everything cool about rhythm sections from the ’70s, and Frank’s ’63 Fender P-Bass (strung with flats, of course) is the star of the show, in front of the mix and carving fiercely. Games isn’t stuck in that era’s rut, either; there’s just enough modernity sprinkled about to avoid easy caricature, and today’s thumb stylists will appreciate the Marcus-influenced slapmelody approach to the Hall & Oates classic “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).” But make no mistake—this is mostly a smorgasbord of vintage keys, unison horn lines, and filter-soaked funky bass that’s designed to make the booty move while the disco ball spins. Somewhere, the Brand New Heavi

King Crimson's ''Red'' (40th Anniversary Series)

For progressive and classic rock bands releasing albums in 1974, the bar was set pretty high. In the wake of milestone releases from bands like Yes, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer came King Crimson’s seminal album Red, in which the power trio of guitarist Robert Fripp, drummer Bill Bruford, and bassist/vocalist John Wetton took the seemingly welldrawn boundary between ethereal progressive rock and early hard rock and smashed it to dark, dissonant pieces. The result was an album that influenced future musicians—and bassists—far beyond what was imaginable at the time.

Still Learning: From Stadiums To The Studio,Stefan Lessard Isn’t Done Exploring

BACKSTAGE AT A HUMMING, SOLD-OUT 40,000-SEAT VANDERBILT STADIUM IN Nashville, Dave Matthews Band bassist Stefan Lessard is quietly pushing towards his own artistic horizons. With a new computer-based preamp in his live rig, film scoring work on the IMAX movie Grand Canyon Adventure, and a collection of quirky covers with his band Yukon Kornelius landing tracks on a recent Warren Miller snow- boarding DVD, Lessard is not just sitting back waiting for the next Dave Matthews Band release to express himself.