Artist-Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings Featuring Saun & Starr
One thing I always enjoy at this time of year is sharing memories of Christmas with people. I also enjoy hearing other people’s memories of Christmas. Different customs and traditions that other families had, or different ways of celebrating the holiday are fascinating to me. It does not matter to me if it is from Finland, Arkansas, or the Bronx, everyone seems to have their own way of celebrating the holidays with their own memories. I was reminded of that again recently when a friend released a fun new Christmas song which celebrated her own memories of the season. Before I talk about that, a little story is called for.
Back in January, in Part 5 of my regular blogs, I wrote about soul music and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings who are part of the powerhouse Daptone Records label based right here in Brooklyn, New York. In trying to promote that blog installment, I sent Daptone a message via Facebook with the hopes of them sharing it on their page. I was pleasantly surprised when they got back to me shortly after and said SURE! They gave it a nice buildup and a lot of people checked it out as a result. Fast forward a few days and I logged on to the Facebook page for my blogs. When I got there, I saw about 20 notifications of ‘likes’ for various photos of mine on the page from somebody called Saun & Starr. It took me a few moments to realize who that actually was and when I did, I was both surprised and excited. The duo of Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan are also known as the Dap-Ettes, backing vocalists to Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. It got me excited thinking that they had stopped by my little page and were going through random photos I had been posting for a few months. Of course I reciprocated and liked their own page (https://www.facebook.com/SaunAndStarr) and gradually I began building up a friendship with Saundra Williams herself via Facebook.
Sometime this summer my wife and I went down near Battery Park to see Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings give a free concert. After the amazing show we briefly met Saundra and I think a friendship was sealed between us as a result. At this time of year when we give gifts to friends and loved ones, I am grateful that I can share this blog with her as a thank you for her love and support to both of us throughout this year.
It is also nice to hear some new Christmas music, and this season saw the release of a new single (and I mean an actual old school single on 45rpm vinyl!) by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, “Just Another Christmas Song. On the flip side is a song written by Saundra Williams herself called “Big Bulbs.” Here is how Saundra herself described it-
“I was at home one night thinking about Christmas back in the day when I was a little girl, and one thing stood out in my head – the colorful Christmas lights that lined the windows and doors of the bodegas and apartments buildings in The Bronx, where I grew up. I remember them so vividly – the colors, the size and shape of the bulbs. To me, the bulbs in the windows said Holiday celebration time even more than the Christmas trees because you couldn’t get to see everyone’s Christmas tree but you could see everyone’s big colorful festive bulbs displayed! The song then came to me almost whole, lyrically, and I heard a 3-part harmony. I couldn’t wait to get Starr and Sharon to listen to it and sing it with me. We recorded it raw and impromptu – Sharon was still finding her way around her bottom notes. It was so much fun to hear it how I’d envisioned it and to hear The Dap-Kings embellish it their way. One of my most special childhood memories come to life – via Daptone Records, no less. Awesome!”
It has been a wonderfully successful year for Daptone Records. New releases, successful tours worldwide, a Grammy nomination for Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and the beginnings of a new soul duo- Saun & Starr. It has been great watching and listening to it all, and I cannot wait for what is next. Merry Christmas Daptone!
2015 has been another great year for Daptone Records, and a part of that success has been the release and successful world tour by Saun & Starr backing their debut album-Look Closer. Last month also saw the release of a Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings Christmas album- ‘It’s A Holiday Soul Party.’ Lots of great funky soul interpretations of classics together with some newer holiday songs like ‘Ain’t No Chimney’s In The Projects’ and ‘Big Bulbs.’ I strongly recommend this album to everyone so buy it on vinyl, buy it on CD, download it..whatever your preference. You won’t regret it!!
Big Bulbs-Written By Saundra Williams
All photographs by Robert P Doyle All images in this blog are available in limited supply for purchase as unframed prints. Sizes may vary. Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
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