She’s got a thing on her mind

No one should ever peg the Showcase Lounge’s line up inferior to the Higher Ground Ballroom. Between Sharon Jones, all eight of the Dap-Kings and the opening Budos Band, Burlington saw the power of good old fashioned New York City soul. And when the Brooklyn based group – not to mention the instrumental Afro-Soul Budos Band hailing from Staten Island – made their way to Higher Ground’s Showcase Lounge last Saturday night, they took us all back to the 1970s on their soul train, leaving Marc Cohn walkin’ through the Ballroom, hopefully on his way back to Memphis. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings may well be the best contemporary R&B-meets- soul-meets-gospel group out there – except there really isn’t anything contemporary about them at all. We live in a digital world these days, and that’s half of Jones and the Dap- Kings appeal. Their music defies the laws of modern digital recording and opts for traditional analogue recording equipment. Sharon and the Dap-Kings (the latter have performed as Amy Winehouse’s backup band, as well) commanded the room with their Mo Townesque/funk sound. And the crowd – made up of UVMs most soulful and a surprising amount of the group’s fans old enough to be their parents – obeyed Jones’ every wish. During a number of songs, Jones, dressed in a retro “Tina Turner” dress, requested that members of the crowd accompany her on stage. “How ’bout the kid in the bird shirt, come up here,” she insisted. Done. The overwhelming success of Sharon Jones & the Dap-King’s Burlington show lies in the fact that they are simply fantastic musicians. And Jones – a former prison guard – doesn’t take any nonsense. She and the Dap-Kings grab our attention and don’t let go until they’re done with us. Too bad the show always has to come to an end.