It Ain't Retro: Daptone Records & The 21st-Century Soul Revolution (Paperback)
Run by a collective of soul-obsessed producers and musicians, the Brooklyn-based independent label launched the careers of artists such as Amy Winehouse, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Charles Bradley, and Bruno Mars. Daptone’s records—and those of the larger soul revival scene—pay homage but never lip service to the original artists, proving that soul is still culturally relevant, and just as exciting as ever.
It Ain’t Retro charts this revival’s players, sounds, and tectonic shifts over the past twenty years, taking you from dingy clubs where soul crazed DJs packed the dancefloor, to just uptown where some of the genre’s heaviest musicians jumpstarted the renaissance in a basement studio, and all the way to the White House. This definitive tale of Daptone Records’ soulful revolution chronicles the label’s history, players, and sounds while dissecting the scene’s cultural underpinnings, which continue to reverberate in pop music. The book also contains rare and unseen images of Daptone artists past and present, including Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, Lee Fields, Antibalas, The Sugarman 3, The Budos Band, and more.
Jessica Lipsky is a journalist and DJ from Brooklyn by way of the San Francisco Bay. She first encountered sweet soul music as a child by obsessively tuning her radio dial and has since extensively covered soul, funk, reggae, and alternative Latin music. Her work on the intersection of culture, music, and politics has appeared in NPR, Billboard, Grammy.com, Columbia Journalism Review, Vice, and LA Weekly. In her free time, she likes to boogaloo down Broadway.
All Sharon Jones ever wanted was recognition—not only for herself but for the whole Daptone family and the soul scene. We proved that soul never died, and It Ain’t Retro is a solid chronicle of our collective effort..—Binky Griptite