The James Hunter Six ‘Whatever It Takes’ (Daptone) 5/5

This collective can do no wrong in my world and if you caught the previous two albums then this is more of the same, early to mid 60’s sounding soul, I’ve said this many times when discussing this lot, but we are so lucky they landed at Daptone, the depth and intensity of the music presented on this album and the preceding two others is wonderful. I pulled this from the sleeve and 3 hours later I was in a 60’s groove which ended with the spellbinding Lorraine Ellison WB album which houses the classic “Stay with me”, The James Hunter Six felt so right in amongst that hallowed company and there you have it, the sound might be dated, from an era long lost in the mists of time but its real and part of our time now, I nipped over to Cambridge the other day for few hours and walked into an independent music store and it was booming out of the speakers, I got chatting to the guys in the store and they were selling at least 3 per day to students who liked what they heard. Young people listening to music that was popular when there parents/grand parents were young, amazing. Of course those of us  who have been switched on to James Hunter had an indication as to where he might go sound wise  on his 2008 “The Hard Way”  album, the wonderful 60’s inspired floater  “Tell Her” captivated us all, the fore runner to what’s happening now,  of course the glue that holds all this together is Jonathan Lee on drums, Lee Badau on Baritone Sax, Damian Hand on Tenor Sax, Andrew Kingslow on Piano, Organ and Percussion, and that so familiar base played by Jason Wilson and of course we have Mr Hunter himself who provides some of the most scintillating guitar licks and vocals that just sound so right on this platform. I keep on hearing this is RnB but it’s a million miles away from that, this is soul music and to call it anything else is just under selling this whole experience, you know what, I’ve had this on in the car, and my music room relentlessly and I’m already looking to his next production. The album kicks off with the slinky mid pacer “I don’t wanna be without you” which just rolls along effortlessly into the slightly more urgent “Whatever it takes” and then for another 10 glorious tracks, what a ride. As essential as the air you breathe.

Brian Goucher