Free Daptone Records Sampler

by John Holbo on November 16, 2008

It’s boring for me to keep linking to Amazon stuff, but, damnit, they have adopted the strategy of giving away good stuff for free. This time it’s This is Daptone Records…, a fantastic sampler. The Daptone sound is a perfect retro funk soul affair. They release 45’s, just to fool people into thinking the stuff is decades old. You’ve heard the Dap-Kings backing up Amy Winehouse about that whole ‘not going to rehab’ thing, among other issues. They’re all over her Back To Black album, a big reason why it sounds so sharp. The three Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings tracks on the sampler are as good as any Winehouse stuff. But the best track is “Make The Road By Walking”, from the Menahan Street Band. You can listen on YouTube.



Sebastian 11.16.08 at 1:18 pm

awesome! I tried to look for other freebies on amazon – is there any “free mp3s” category that I’m just not finding.


Dog's New Clothes 11.16.08 at 1:34 pm

Free stuff!

I’ve got the three Sharon Jones albums (highly recommended) but I hadn’t heard anything else on the label.


Dog's New Clothes 11.16.08 at 1:52 pm


I found this. It’s a bit unwieldy, but you can sort by artist or album.


John Holbo 11.16.08 at 2:16 pm

Basically, the trick is to drop by the MP3 ‘free songs and special deals’ page. Which you can find in the sidebar from the general MP3 download page. They have daily deals, so I just drop by every morning over coffee to see what’s going for $1.99. Today it was an old Zappa album, so I got that. Yesterday it was some Louis Armstrong. Couple days before it was old Elliott Smith I was happy to pick up. About half the time it’s something pretty good, though often that means I’ve already got it. This giving away whole albums that are very good, and just sit there for free for a week, is something new.

Dog’s New Clothes links to a big pile of mostly crap that you should dutifully sort through once, because there’s some very good stuff, and it’s all totally free, and then not visit again.


JR 11.16.08 at 3:41 pm

Is there anyway to get access to it without installing the “Amazon downloader” software? I’m leery of those sorts of things and anyway don’t like clogging my computer with them.


Jeff Rubard 11.16.08 at 5:38 pm

But the best track is “Make The Road By Walking”, from the Menahan Street Band.

If people were wondering where they heard the song before, it was the backing track for “Roc Boys”. If people were wondering where they heard the song title before, <a href=””well:


Jeff Rubard 11.16.08 at 5:40 pm

Make the Road By Walking

Make the Road by Walking was founded in 1997 in a Bushwick church basement by local residents to address the potentially devastating effects of welfare reform on America’s poor and immigrant communities.

Make the Road by Walking initially focused exclusively on organizing immigrant welfare recipients, but soon expanded its focus to combat the systemic economic and political marginalization of Bushwick residents. More importantly, Make the Road by Walking galvanized Bushwick’s untapped commitment to democratic participation and resistance to oppression. Make the Road by Walking became a powerful force for low-income immigrants across New York City. In keeping with our democratic values, Make the Road by Walking became a membership organization in 1999. Make the Road by Walking’s low-income members paid dues to support the organization, voted to elect the Board of Directors, and constituted the majority of voting seats on the board.

In response to the outpouring of interest and expressed needs from community members, Make the Road by Walking expanded substantially since its initial start at St. Barbara’s Church. In less than a decade, it moved from an all-volunteer organization to a staff of 25 full-time and 20 part-time employees, plus an ever-growing membership base of over 2,300 community residents. Its initial budget of $72,000 grew to almost $2.5 million in 2007.


Tom Hurka 11.16.08 at 6:11 pm

Just saw Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings for the second time — what a show and what a band! Perfect soul arrangements. How much would Amy Winehouse be in the newspapers without them?


jbd 11.16.08 at 6:32 pm

Please, please don’t stop linking to this stuff. Some of the best music recently added to the collection has come from your links. Perhaps I should try to get out more.

It’s unclear to me, though, why people on Amazon insist on calling this motown. “Retro funk soul” seems considerably more appropriate.


sharon 11.16.08 at 7:29 pm

Why the hell are Amazon’s downloads still restricted to US customers?

This is making me particularly grumpy because Sharon Jones is my favourite new discovery of the year (bought on the strength of the album cover…) and this sampler sounds like it was made in heaven just for me…


zzzzzzzzzzzz 11.16.08 at 9:47 pm

“the systemic economic and political marginalization of Bushwick residents.”
Hipsters are gentrifiers (just in case you didn’t know).
Rosalie’s bakery is gone. So is Cono’s Pizzeria. Rents have skyrocketed.
The local community has become the local “color.” And this music is technically sharp nostalgia.


John Holbo 11.16.08 at 10:21 pm

I was trying to think what old band was an appropriate comparison for the Menahan Street Band and Belle suggested the Quantic Soul Orchestra, which is about right. Interesting. Plus “Quantic of Soul” would be a slightly better title for the new Bond flick. Not much better, I grant you.


Martin Wisse 11.17.08 at 11:14 am

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings is one of my musical discoveries of 2008 as well, having gotten their album on the strength of the videoclip to “100 Nights” which is absolutely brilliant. Soul as she should be.


Zach B 11.17.08 at 6:17 pm

Thanks for pointing out the Roc Boys sample, Jeff! I was trying to figure it out but after the most recent Girl Talk album I only associate that Jay-Z song with Radiohead’s Paranoid Android.


john holbo 11.18.08 at 2:45 am

“Hipsters are gentrifiers (just in case you didn’t know).”

Land sakes! This is news I can use!


zzzzzzzzzzzz 11.18.08 at 3:05 am

“Land sakes! This is news I can use!”
Considering you’re celebrating a simulation of the products of a collective culture -old school soul and r&b- I thought you might appreciate the irony (and show some respect for the collective culture of another community being overrun.)
I guess not.
From my family to yours:


john holbo 11.18.08 at 5:28 am

Sorry, I have no knowledge of Menahan Street culture, but I just thought ‘hipsters are gentrifiers (just in case you didn’t know)’ was sort of funny. (‘Water is wet (just in case you didn’t know’.) And it is notorious common knowledge, as well, that hipsters walk the line between sensitive appreciation/recreation of past artistic elements/styles and voracious nostalgpalyptic trendsucking, soulless overconsumption of the aforementioned elements. See also, the history of art, under ‘mannerism’.


zzzzzzzzzzzz 11.18.08 at 3:03 pm

First George Will, [see post above] and now this.
“See also, the history of art, under ‘mannerism’.”
Mannerism is reaction. John. It’s center center right posing as left, and slackers chanting “Clinton” or “Obama” while thinking of themselves as the new SDS. It’s standing on the left side of a boat that’s drifting to the right, as if the world beyond the gunwales were unimportant. It’s the American exceptionalism not of the American conservative but of the American liberal.

And you see John, I can begin by being annoyed with the art or with the politics., the esthetics or the philosophy, without any conflict at all: empiricism in support of rationalism, and the other way ’round.
So am I at heart an angry leftist, or just an angry art critic? Thanks to you and others like you, I may never have to choose.
Nice. I built a whole paragraph riffing on that one. I’m not immune.
Never said otherwise.


Jeff Rubard 11.19.08 at 2:53 am

As long as the response was just re: me not understanding a ‘hood I have never been to, I felt no need to reply, but the extrapolations are general and generally wrong. First of all, I call “bullshit” on the disidentification of hipsters with an authentic left. Gavin McInnes is a (capitalist) tool, but hipster culture is American left culture: the kid in thrift-store clothes with “eclectic” music tastes working behind the counter of a coffeeshop has a hell of a lot more claim to be an “authentic” part of the left going back a looong time than well-heeled professionals with “social-democratic” values.

I also fail to see how Bushwick remaining an alcázar etnico in the style of the now-famous Bloomfield would have been better from a leftist point of view; I’m not too “New York”, but I remember certain goings-on in some place called “Howard Beach” about twenty years ago. That’s what I was talking about by bringing up Make the Road, which is an organization independent of white people grooving to tunes on the Internet. If they are revivalists, they are revivalists of a ’90s American (!) project far to the left of the products of for-real imperialism and monarchy who are going to school us all for being “center-right” in spite of ourselves and our sitting the experience of fascism out.

As for Dap-Tone, it hurts a little to listen to the music because I have to remember it is not 1972 and I am not a groovy white revolutionary down, at least as regards the aesthetics of urbanism, with “The Movement”. However, consider this: perhaps it is more or less an open secret that “contemporary” black musical forms like hip-hop left a fair piece of space open for something like “neo-soul”, because rappers and DJs happen to kind of like that sort of thing, maybe even secretly kind of better than hip-hop sound-bombs?


zzzzzzzzzzzz 11.19.08 at 7:46 am

“First of all, I call “bullshit” on the disidentification of hipsters with an authentic left.”
And I thought Holbo was a joke. You take take the cake. Bushwick isn’t Howard Beach son.
And you are one stupid self-indulgent, condescending motherfucker.
‘I know a few dudes doin’ life bids in jail. And they way smarter then the white kids in Yale.’
Actually I know both. And it’s true.


ziddy 11.19.08 at 3:34 pm

nicole willis is pretty rad as well.

though neither really compare to the best of the stuff to come out of the late 60s and 70s

and if you have listened to all of that, you are just as well served by reissues from numero group and other labels putting out some of the more overlooked stuff of the time.


Jeff Rubard 11.19.08 at 4:07 pm

“First of all, I call “bullshit” on the disidentification of hipsters with an authentic left.” And I thought Holbo was a joke. You take take the cake. Bushwick isn’t Howard Beach son. And you are one stupid self-indulgent, condescending motherfucker.

It’s American history, and I guess I’m going to have to get stupid with it (and the history of other places, I guess, if you could remember Eric Hobsbawm’s jazz criticism, which you can’t since you are “fronting” on at least this score). The “White Negro” is a left-wing figure going back decades, and there’s precious little about contemporary hipster culture that limits it to that shade: the “real” people who are busy limiting the degrees of freedom of young people without significant cultural or economic capital and can’t see “Latin” themes right there on the page, or hear them in the groove, are the real dubious friends of the continental left. As for how the gun and the knife is, I’ll take your word for it.


seth edenbaum 11.19.08 at 11:05 pm

I’m so tired of people who get their politics only from books and then through a process of self-designation proclaim themselves objectively leftist. No problem for Hobsbawm of course.
But manners are not actions. Moral seriousness is not moral responsibility. Good intentions mean nothing, and when I hear the word sincerity, I reach for my gub.

Why don’t you ask people who live in these neighborhoods and have all their lives, how they feel about the people moving in and forcing them out? Instead of talking about the working class, of any race, why not talk to them? That’s obviously something you haven’t done much of in your life.
Better yet, take some advice from me and styles p.
Try working a real job for a while. Learn a hustle, learn a trade. Spend 3 years in the fields, or the streets. And if you want to proclaim solidarity with the workers of the world by riding in the freight elevator remember that by doing that you’re just forcing people to wait for you to get out so they can get back to work.
And if you want to have a discussion of history and nostalgia begin start here. There are plenty of people as enthusiastic as you, and as unwilling to ask themselves just what it is they’re enthusiastic about.


Jeff Rubard 11.20.08 at 1:32 am

Better yet, take some advice from me and styles p.

Grow up and stop being a phony. “Bushwick Bill” here is confusing the issues of trust-fund gentrification and the slightly earlier Latinization of that part of Brooklyn, so he can take a stand against wimpy white guys in lieu of the big brown ones. I happen to think the Dap-Tone people’s reference to Make the Road is pretty cool and politically astute: I suspect the Make the Road people don’t mind too much, and know all kinds of “hustles” that don’t involve 401(k)s inside and out. All of this is totally patent to anyone who knows from activism, as opposed to being a ‘hard-headed’ trainspotter who jest cain’t get over the loonies really exploring the practical political options of the present, rather than Sittin’ Back And Counting Their Money A La A Rap Star ‘Cause They’re Good Like That.


seth edenbaum 11.20.08 at 3:12 am

At this point you’re making no sense at all, at least inasmuch as you imagine you’re responding to anything I’ve written.
And I’m not posing as anything, I’ve just met a lot of people in my life.
I’m out.

For the record the latinization of Bushwick is decades old.


Jeff Rubard 11.20.08 at 3:26 am

And I’m not posing as anything, I’ve just met a lot of people in my life.
I’m out.

Yeah you are. You’re not really invited to talk like that, like you might be if you had caught the Paid in Full reference and if white privilege didn’t work quite as well for you as it obviously does. However, even if you met those qualifications there would be no shame in not talking like a street criminal if you haven’t been forced into that life.

For the record the latinization of Bushwick is decades old.

That’s good to know, although not really incompatible with what I said: this guy is failing to see that not accepting change could have happened at an earlier point in time, creating an environment where he wasn’t welcome (and I do know those neighborhoods). Every stop is being pulled out here so that we don’t have to agree on what is obviously the case, that the song is a fitting tribute to a fine organization.


seth edenbaum 11.20.08 at 4:58 am

“creating an environment where he wasn’t welcome (and I do know those neighborhoods)”
I’ll try to do this without going into rhetorical overkill.
I grew up as a white kid in a black neighborhood and an odd duck to be sure, there as elsewhere, but I didn’t pretend to be anything other than what I was and in the end it was my home and I was welcome. I’m sorry if I missed a reference but the one I made was based in fact: I’ve worked and socialized with deeply intelligent men who understood more about life than the stereotypical white kids in Yale (I’ve known a few of them too) or in fact anyone who writes on this site. And they’d killed more than once, and not in the line of duty. I’ve also worked with men who made it clear that in a different time and place they’d slip my throat for laughs. But they knew as I did that that meeting would never happen, and we worked together and we got the job done. I showed them no disrespect nor would I now in their absence.
It always amused me that in my 20 years as a carpenter and construction tech in NY the condescension of young architects and interior designers towards me as a worker mapped so closely the contempt of political/academic conceptualists, artistic or otherwise, for those who did not share their faux radical intellectual agenda; even though they too needed me and people like me to fabricate things for them; since as designers the use of hand tools was beyond them (or beneath them).

John Holbo was smart enough to shut the fuck up. You should follow his lead and do the same.


seth edenbaum 11.20.08 at 5:24 am

I’m trying to figure out if I should apologize for that last line or not.
I’m trying, and I can’t make up my mind. I want to be able to expect something from those who consider themselves thoughtful, and the frustration makes me angry.


Jeff Rubard 11.20.08 at 3:49 pm

John Holbo was smart enough to shut the fuck up. You should follow his lead and do the same.

Well, you’re clearly looking to have a “chilling” effect on discourse: holding your cards as a youthful ‘United Nations’ politician and member of the ‘labor aristocracy’ close to the vest was a good way to do that. Clearly you have some kind of credibility, and it would be lovely if you would explain to us in great detail why exactly the conclusion I found ‘primitively compelling’ is wrong (maybe you could put in a good word for me at Fairway, too). Otherwise, it looks like you are a person with interesting experiences who is one-sidedly prosecuting an anti-intellectual agenda.


seth edenbaum 11.20.08 at 5:36 pm

“Clearly you have some kind of credibility”

You have no power to grant me credibility on this issue, any more than I have the power to grant it to myself.

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