The story of Sharon Jones proves that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. The late Georgia-born, New York City-raised singer spent many years as a corrections officer and an armored car guard before rising to fame in her forties when she was “discovered” by producers Gabriel Roth and Phillippe Lehman. She recorded for their Pure Records and Desco Records labels, and her work for the latter caught the attention of soul collectors; the undated singles released by Desco led the crate-diggers to believe that these were singles from the 1970s, and Jones was a lost star. When Roth founded Daptone Records, Jones was signed to the roster. She remained there until passing away in November 2016 at the too-young age of 60 following a valiant battle with cancer.
On Friday, October 23, Daptone will issue a new collection of rare and previously unreleased recordings by the big-voiced, deep-soul singer. Just Dropped In to See What Condition My Rendition Was In is a digital collection of 13 covers from Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, with a vinyl edition following as part of Black Friday Record Store Day this November. It’s titled after the Kenny Rogers and the First Edition hit by way of Bettye LaVette’s 1968 R&B reinvention which Jones faithfully recreated.
The set also offers Jones and her hot band’s revivals and reinventions of such classics as Dusty Springfield’s “Little by Little,” Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours,” Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” and Bob Marley and The Wailers’ “It Hurts to Be Alone.” The songs here derive from a variety of sources. Both “Rescue Me” and “In the Bush” were recorded for but unheard in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, while Jones’ remake of Gladys Knight’s “Givin’ Up” was recorded at the behest of a producer who planned to use a sample from it on a Dr. Dre album. Like “Little by Little,” a handful of tracks here were recorded for tribute albums: “Inspiration Information” (Shuggie Otis), “Take Me with U” (Prince),” and “Here I Am Baby” (The Marvelettes).
While most of Jones’ discography consisted of original songs, this collection showcases many of the songs she loved and from which she took inspiration. Just Dropped In to See What Condition My Rendition Was In is due digitally from Daptone Records on October 23, and can be pre-ordered at the Bandcamp link below! The vinyl edition will be released to local record stores on November 27 as part of Record Store Day’s Black Friday event.
Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In) (Dap-Tone, 2020)
* previously unreleased ** digital bonus track
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours *
- Little By Little
- Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) *
- Here I Am Baby
- What Have You Done For Me Lately?
- Take Me With U
- This Land Is Your Land **
- Inspiration Information
- Giving Up *
- Rescue Me *
- In The Bush *
- It Hurts To Be Alone
- Trespasser *
Tracks 2, 4 source TBD
Track 5 from Dap-dippin’ with Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings – Daptone DAP-001, 2002
Track 6 from Purplish Rain – SPIN Magazine bonus disc, 2009
Track 7 from Naturally – Daptone DAP-004, 2005
Track 8 from Dark Was The Night – 4AD DAD 2835, 2009
Track 12 from Causes 2 – Waxploitation, 2009