Whatever It Takes
I’ve always loved the sound James Hunter makes – a mix of ska-inflected R’n’B with jazzy horns and bluesy guitar licks; he’s got the Sam Cooke sound down vocally and he sting those strings like Robert Cray. I’ve always worried about how James Hunter is doing – the guy is so good, but do people know about him? Do they buy his records? He must have his fans – but he’s ludicrously talented. Why don’t more people know? Every time he makes a record it’s his new best album – and so it is here with his second for the Daptone label (this meeting of artist and label seems a perfect fit by the way).
Whatever It Takes bursts out of the gates with a rocksteady charm – so sultry and summery and soulful. And whether you want a bit of good-time Sam Cooke playfulness (as on the title track) or some funky-as soul-jazz groove (I Got My Eyes) or a laidback bit of balladry with just enough of a soul-stirring sway to it (MM-hmm) Hunter and his six-pack band has your back.
On Blisters, a Freddie King/Lonnie Mack kinda instrumental stinger it’s time for him to just showcase the guitar licks. And he has the full and perfect bite. Elsewhere, on I Should’ve Spoke Up there’s more of summer peeking in as the guitar gently laps at the sides of the song.
Hunter’s done all of this before, of course. And he’ll do it all again. But right now it feels like he’s making the best music he can – just so perfectly on point. No dud tracks, none that stick around too long either. It’s a fun wee blast of summer-sunshine soundtrack. It’s a Saturday morning record that can take you to that ‘place’ any day of the week.
It’s a gem.
Check it out!