Review ·

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.

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.

So, consider the second volume 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.

 

*** 

Label: http://www.daptonerecords.com

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/daptonerecords

Though the name "Daptone" conjures a more modern notion of retro-soul – think Amy Winehouse, Al Green, and even Jay-Z's American Gangster – these days, the label keeps a solid foot in its preservationist roots by continuing its series of limited pressing 7-inches. Collected here for the second time (Volume 1 was released in 2006), these tracks span from Afro beat renditions of nuyorican salsa (Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra's reading of Hector Lavoe's "Che Che Cole") to knee-dropping soul (Lee Fields' "Could Have Been").

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