FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

James Hunter’s "People Gonna Talk"

by MYLES PALMER

The two things I love most in amplified music are great voices and great ensemble playing and James Hunter’s People Gonna Talk (Rounder Records) offers both. It’s gratifying to see that the Essex-born soul stylist is now doing well in the USA.

Back around 1996 I took football journalist Joe Bernstein to see this singer at the 100 Club in Oxford Street, just after his Believe What I Say album came out on Ace Records. His voice really swings and his sweet, funky little band cruised through two sets of Fifties R&B : Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Bobby “Blue” Bland, a bunch of original songs in a roadhouse vein. He might be the blackest-sounding white singer these islands have produced since Stevie Winwood.

Joe loved the audience, which included teddy boys jiving beautifully with girls whose skirts flared out as they swivelled.

Before that James Hunter had made an album as Howlin’ Wilf and had played guitar and sung with Van Morrison, who duetted with him on two tracks, Turn On Your Love Light and Ain’t Nothing You Can Do.

Early in 2006 I read a comment he had made about going home late one night on a Network South East train where commuters were very tired or asleep, and somebody was playing a cassette of a Sam Cooke album, and nobody in the compartment objected. I knew what he was talking about because I’ve often been on that late train, coming home from gigs at the Town &Country Club/Forum.

Sam Cooke’s music is magically light and mellow, and James Hunter said that one day he wanted to make an album like that.

And now he has. Amazingly, producer Liam Watson recorded all these songs live, with Hunter singing along with the band, using old analogue equipment at Toe Rag studios, where the White Stripes made Elephant.

The warmth of the sound, the artistry of the vocals, the precision of horns that really play in the groove, are all fantastic. The title track even includes a string quartet.

Sure, James Hunter is a niche – and it’s a small niche. But his current success proves that if you persevere, the market can come to you.

I won’t describe each song, as you can hear clips streamed on www.jameshuntermusic.com.

MYLES PALMER lives in England, where he writes about music and soccer. He can be reached at: myles@db10.freeserve.co.uk

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
Steve Horn
What Do a Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66
Brian Saady
Why Corporations are Too Big to Jail in the Drug War
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising
Luke Meyer
The Case of Tony: Inside a Lifer Hearing
Binoy Kampmark
Adolf, The Donald and History
Robert Koehler
The Great American Awakening
Murray Dobbin
Canadians at Odds With Their Government on Israel
Fariborz Saremi
A Whole New World?
Joyce Nelson
Japan’s Abe, Trump & Illegal Leaks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump 1, Tillerson 0
Yves Engler
Is This Hate Speech?
Dan Bacher
Trump Administration Exempts Three CA Oil Fields From Water Protection Rule at Jerry Brown’s Request
Richard Klin
Solid Gold
Melissa Garriga
Anti-Abortion and Anti-Fascist Movements: More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Thomas Knapp
The Absurd Consequences of a “Right to Privacy”
W. T. Whitney
The Fate of Prisoner Simón Trinidad, as Seen by His U. S. Lawyer
Brian Platt
Don’t Just Oppose ICE Raids, Tear Down the Whole Racist Immigration Enforcement Regime
Paul Cantor
Refugee: the Compassionate Mind of Egon Schwartz
Norman Richmond
The Black Radical Tradition in Canada
Barton Kunstler
Rallying Against the Totalitarian Specter
Judith Deutsch
Militarism:  Revolutionary Mothering and Rosie the Riveter
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir Evoked a Lot More International Attention in the 1950s Than It Does Now
Adam Phillips
There Isn’t Any There There
Louis Proyect
Steinbeck’s Red Devils
Randy Shields
Left Coast Date: the Dating Site for the ORWACA Tribe
Charles R. Larson
Review: Bill Hayes’ “Insomniac City”
David Yearsley
White Supremacy and Music Theory
February 16, 2017
Peter Gaffney
The Rage of Caliban: Identity Politics, the Travel Ban, and the Shifting Ideological Framework of the Resistance
Ramzy Baroud
Farewell to Doublespeak: Israel’s Terrifying Vision for the Future
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail