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Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Angel Olsen and more new and noteworthy


Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Soul of a Woman (Daptone) – Unlike Gordon Downie, Jones did not enter the studio assuming this would be her last work with The Dap-Kings. She had been fighting pancreatic cancer off and on for years, but her voice remains strong throughout these sessions, though she succumbed to that cancer on Nov. 16. Happy and spirited tracks like “Rumors” and “Sail On” emphasize that she aimed to add to her repertoire, not wave a conscious goodbye. The Daptone label is packaging this release with her last two albums as a specially priced 3-CD set for those who are just being introduced to Jones’ music.


Angel Olsen, Phases (Jagjaguwar) – Olsen’s career may appear to be too recent for a retrospective of B-sides, but in a few short years, she has managed to run the gamut from Wanda Jackson-style rockabilly to the songwriter vulnerability favored by Sharon Van Etten. These home-recorded four-tracks are all endearing, but a leftover from last year’s My Woman session, “Special,” really stands out.


Stills & Collins, Everybody Knows (Cleopatra) – This is not so much a 50-years-on return to the relationship that spawned “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” as it is Stephen Stills and Judy Collins finding time to record a few favorites together. The selection of covers may not be as deliciously eclectic as recent duets between Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin, or Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky, but covers of artists like Leonard Cohen and Traveling Wilburys make this work memorable.

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