The James Hunter Six – Hold On! (2016): Review

hunter

Label – Daptone

Signing to Daptone Records seems to suit James Hunter’s muse as one of the premier exponents of traditional R&B and soul. Clocking in at a brisk 30 minutes, this ten song set of original songs could be easily mistaken as a record pulled up from the Duke label vaults, circa 1957. To add authenticity “Hold On” was recorded on analog 8 track equipment, in mono. The result is a fresh, swinging and thoroughly enlivened performance by Hunter and his band, propelled by an energetic dynamism to faithful reproduction of this traditional genre. Hunter’s vocal is certainly sympathetic to his endeavors, ranging from a raspy howl on the up-tempo numbers, to a smooth lilt when the rhythm softens. The influencers are of course transparent, and the listener can recall Bobby Bland, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and early Motown, all enthusiastically delivered without a hint of lazy parody. Notable highlights include the Northern soul groove of the punchy “Stranded”, the painful barbs of break up on “This Is Where I Came In”, and the melodic vitality of the single and opener “If That Don’t Tell You”.

James Hunter Six at The Rivoli Ball Room, London, December 2012

There’s often many vulgar illusions and delusions by artists and groups raking up this style of music that are often inescapable and indefensible. By contrast, “Hold On” has a richness and authenticity that’s hard to resist. A promising debut to Hunter’s contract with Daptone, and a feeling that there’s more quality releases to look forward to.

7/10

Track Listing
1 If That Don’t Tell You
2 This Is Where We Came In
3 (Baby) Hold On
4 Something’s Calling
5 A Truer Heart
6 Free Your Mind (While You Still Got Time)
7 Light Of My Life
8 Stranded
9 Satchel Foot
10 In The Dark

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