Skip navigation

Once upon a time — let’s call them the pre-Winehouse years — there was a little label that could pumping retro soul and funk out of a tiny label in Brooklyn. With the mainstream record industry centralizing power and CD sales on the rise, this tiny label faced seemingly insurmountable odds by pairing young musicians who were in love with the sounds of the ’60s and ’70s with older singers who were steeped in that era and then recording their modest little jams on seven-inch slabs of vinyl.

Daptone Studios, Bushwick

The core of their music is the Dap-Kings: Binky Griptite, Guitar, Emcee; David Guy, Trumpet; Bosco “Bass” Mann (AKA Gabriel Roth), Bass, Bandleader; Neal Sugarman, Tenor Saxophone; Tommy “TNT” Brenneck, Guitar; Homer “Funky-Foot” Steinweiss, Drums; Fernando “Bugaloo” Velez, Percussion; Ian Hendrickson-Smith, Baritone and Tenor Saxophone. The Sugarman 3 features Neal Sugarman, Saxophone; Adam Scone, Hammond Organ; Al Street, Guitar; Rudy Albin, Drums; Dave Guy, Trumpet. Legendary Soul Singer Lee Fields often sings with the Sugarman 3 as well as flautist Daisy Sugarman. Daptone built their own studios in Brooklyn where they have recorded most of their releases. The unique quality of their sound is a product of the studio acoustics, recording only on analog tape — no digital –, and mixing by Gabriel Roth.

Then Winehouse came. And everything changed.

Of course, this story is blown slightly out of proportion. Even while Ronson, Carter and even the Reverend Green were drafting the label’s many talents, Daptone quietly continued to release these little gems for its devoted fans.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

So, consider these two volumes of Daptone 7-Inch Singles Collection a reminder of the label’s humble, yet no less raucous, roots. Collecting the esteemed (and limited pressings) of seven-inch singles from its roster stars, such as Sharon Jones and Lee Fields, from the last few years, the compilation serves up an even broader menu of retrophilia. From the gutbucket funk of the Mighty Impreials’ “The Matador” and the Otis-style balladeering of Lee Fields’ “Could Have Been” to Sharon Jones’ groovy reinterpretation of the de facto Lebowski theme “I Just Dropped in to See What Condition My Condition Is In” and Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra’s subtle reading of Hector Lavoe’s anthem “Che Che Cole,” the collection demonstrates how the label attracted such mass appeal: by casting a wide and thoroughly ass-shaking net.

By Dan Nishimoto,


DAPTONE 7 INCH SINGLES COLLECTION: VOL. 1&2 (2006, 2008 compilations)
V0 MP3

One Comment

  1. Hey Ian. I haven’t visited you in awhile. Great stuff you’ve been posting here. I just posted some Sharon Jones mp3’s on Eclectic Grooves. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are playing the Oregon Zoo tomorrow, so I wanted to spread the word to folks who check out the blog. Anyway, I can’t wait for the show tomorrow. Thanks for sharing these singles.Best, Kevin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: