Daptone Co-Founder Talks Capturing Sharon Jones & Charles Bradley’s Legacies for 20th-Anniversary Live LP

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On Friday (Oct. 1), Daptone released the live compilation album The Daptone Super Soul Revue Live at the Apollo in celebration of the record label’s 20th anniversary. The three-record package with 48-page booklet features a showcase of Daptone artists at New York’s famed Apollo Theater in 2014.

Recorded in a three-night stint at the legendary venue, The Daptone Super Soul Revue captures the joyous performances from Daptone’s legendary artists and serves as a commemoration of lost talents. In the past five years, Daptone has suffered tremendous loss on its artist roster including Cliff Driver, Naomi Shelton, Charles Bradley and the incomparable Sharon Jones.

Daptone co-founder Gabriel Roth says putting together the new compilation was a bittersweet experience.

“I spent many months trying to mix it and put it together and it was pretty painful, because some of my close friends Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley had passed away,” Roth tells Billboard. “Then while I was mixing it, Naomi Shelton and Cliff Driver passed away. It was painful, but it felt important to document that time for the label and those performers.” 

The live album is a boisterous collection of one of the rare times the entire Daptone crew took the stage together. Over three LPs, fans get to hear Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Bradley, Saun & Starr, Antibalas, The Budos Band, Menahan Street Band and the Como Mamas.

Roth says there was always an intention to capture the three nights at the Apollo and release the material, but as time went on and the label grew, it became more difficult to sit down and get the task done.

“It was a daunting project for me because of the scale of it. It’s unlike any record I’ve ever made,” says Roth. “It took a long time to actually get it together. Between being locked at home and not being able to get in the studio because of the pandemic and it being the 20th anniversary, I ran out of excuses and had to buckle down and get it done.” 

The result is more than 30 tracks of a vibrant live show filled with cheers and collaborations. The final LP captures a rousing set from Jones and the Dap Kings and brings the collection to a triumphant conclusion with a labelwide rendition of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Family Affair.” 

In addition to the music, the album comes with a 48-page booklet featuring both onstage and backstage photos by Isaac Sterling and Jacob Blickenstaff. The images capture the onstage prowess of Daptone’s most powerful performers and the elation behind the scenes.  

For Roth, the album was all about capturing the feeling in the room. “To me, it’s a keepsake for all the people that have been to those shows over the years and remember those artists,” he says. “It’s something special for the Daptone fans and for the legacy of those artists who have passed. It’s almost like a thank you card.” 

For a snippet of what The Daptone Super Soul Revue Live at the Apollo has to offer, check out Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings’ rendition of “Get Up and Get Out (Live at the Apollo)” below.  

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