Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

JAMES HUNTER

THE HARD WAY

2008-06-25

James Hunter is a major exception to the “you can tell a book by its cover” school of disc reviews. While the cover of this disc shows him as a white guy guitar slinger, a spin through this disc reveals him to have the sensibilities of a 50’s era black soul and R & B singer with a day job singing rock and roll. Hunter starts things off with "The Hard Way" and "Tell Her", which could have fallen off the Animal House or American Graffiti soundtracks, and evoke memories of the shag, cruising and beach parties, and then moves into Van Morrison territory with the soul blues of "Don’t Do Me No Favours". Early rock enters the party with the driving guitar of "Jacqueline" and the loping cha cha beat of "Class Act", where the echo in the mix evokes a time long past. "Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere" has an urgency that, when coupled with Hunter’s yowling vocals, sounds straight off the Stax Records mixing board. "She’s Got A Way" and "Til the End" also play on the soulful side of the street with steamy guitar, cool organ and greasy horn charts. Throughout this disc, Hunter’s elastic vocal delivery evokes memories of giants like Otis Redding, James Brown or even Al Green. Remarkably, despite the decidedly retro sound, every cut on this disc is an original. Like Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone, Hunter has brought the British Invasion to the new millennium by recycling classic States’ sounds and reintroducing them to their homeland. You need this disc for your summer party. Wow! Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.