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Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings are already well known as one of the most exciting acts in the nation for both their explosive live shows and their prolic output of gritty studio recordings. Their breakout release, 100 Days, 100 Nights , has sold over 150,000 copies worldwide. The follow-up I Learned the Hard Way , their fourth full-length on Brooklyn’s independent Daptone Records marks a bold step forward for a band who almost singlehandedly stewarded today’s return of soul music to its more traditional sound.Produced by Bosco Mann and recorded on an Ampex eight-track tape machine by Gabriel Roth in Daptone Records’ House of Soul studios, the record drips with a warmth and spontaneity rarely found since the golden days of Muscle Shoals and Stax. Sharon’s raw power, rhythmic swagger, moaning soulfulness, and melodic command set her rmly alongside Tina Turner, James Brown, Mavis Staples, and Aretha as a xture in the canon of soul music. From the lush Philly-Soul fanfare that ushers in “The Game Gets Old” at the top of the record, to the stripped down Sam Cooke-style “Mama Don’t Like My Man” at the tail, the Dap-Kings dance seamlessly through both the most crafted and simple arrangements with subtlety and discipline. I Learned the Hard Way is the “Daptone Sound” at its finest.