Every one of the ten songs on the James Hunter Six’s latest biscuit, Hold On! is brand spankin’ new. Yet each one captures the sound of classic early rock and soul music and sounds familiar in the best sense of the word. Hunter may be over 50 years old, and he would not have been born during this music’s heyday. This is the sound of post-World War II, African American performers from the South and urban north who initially motivated acts like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to become musicians.
Hold On! is the fourth album by the rocking soul man James Hunter and his stalwart sextet. Daptone's Gabriel Roth produced the excellent Minute by Minute in 2013, but this is the band's debut for the label. Hold On! was recorded live in the studio, but Roth and Hunter decided on mono to best capture the immediacy of the performances. The songwriter has recorded only original material since 2006, and these ten tracks are no exception.
In putting his latest album out on Daptone Records, you could say that James Hunter has found his natural home. The 10 songs on “Hold On!” clock in at a brisk 30 minutes; all were written by Hunter, and each sounds like something that King Records would have issued in its heyday. Hunter continues to bring those sounds back to life with his Six, his smooth croon and raspy wail, and his electric guitar’s slash and sting.
Henry Yates on new releases from Bonnie Raitt, Doug Hream Blunt, Grainne Duffy, Henri Herbert and The James Hunter Six Bonnie Raitt: Dig In Deep If 2012’s Slipstream announced Bonnie Raitt’s return from a wretched hiatus – the post-millennium saw her lose both parents, a brother and a best friend in rapid succession – then Dig In Deep finds the first lady of slide-blues making up for lost time as a creative force. Five original songwriting credits is an unprecedented haul for a woman often content as an interpreter. But they’re the standouts here.
James Hunter is no bandwagoneer. The British blue-eyed soul man has churned out throwback R&B since 1996 debut ...Believe What I Say. Turning to Daptone Records maestro Gabe Roth for production on 2013's Minute by Minute, the singer retains the analog maestro for Hold On!, his debut on the iconic Brooklyn imprint. The LP zips through 10 tracks in a half-hour, all ballads and boppers in the mold of Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and Chuck Willis.