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Boomkat Product Review:
Led by a never less than brilliant vocal performance from Sharon Jones, I Learned The Hard Way is an old-school soul album cut from the classic cloth of Stax-style recordings. This group had their breakthrough hit back in 2007 when 100 Days, 100 Nights sold over 150,000 units and the band toured festivals the world over; on this latest full-length they raise the stakes further, nailing a vintage sound with complete authenticity and conviction. Jones and The Dap Kings have previously been best-known for making contributions to other artists' music, racking up stage and studio collaborations with the likes of Al Green, Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson and Lou Reed to name a few, but on songs like 'The Game Gets Old' and 'Give It Back' Jones makes a compelling case for major vocal stardom in her own right. As for the band's accompanying arrangements, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything that sounds finer in all the Numero Group's soul reissue roster. The brass and strings are exemplary, but the authoritative core rhythm section is all-important, sounding superlative on the likes of 'I'll Still Be True' and 'Without A Heart'. Recommended.