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Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens are the latest find on the solid Daptone Records label, a music company devoted to releasing music by acts recreating the sounds of late 1960s soul and early ’70s funk. Dedicating yourself to resurrecting the sounds of a bygone era may not earn you much in the way of originality points, but Daptone has a keen ear when it comes to helping spot and develop talent in the old R&B tradition.
Case in point, Naomi Shelton and her upcoming release, What Have You Done, My Brother? The formula here is as straightforward as it comes: a catchy chorus with some call and response courtesy of background singers, the persistent tremolo of a Hammond organ, guitar licks that walk the listener from chord to chord, and a sparse but driving backbeat. This equation sold millions of records for Motown and Stax/Volt, and since it ain’t broke, Naomi ain’t fixin’ it.
My guess is that this title doesn’t have enough tricks up its sleeve to sell most listeners, but soul purists will find a lot to love in this unassuming but potent track.