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People Gonna Talk


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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 April 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rounder Europe
  • ASIN: B000E1NX1S
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,228 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. People Gonna Talk
2. No Smoke Without Fire
3. You Can't Win
4. Riot In My Heart
5. 'Til Your Fool Comes Home
6. Mollena
7. I'll Walk Away
8. Watch & Chain
9. Kick It Around
10. Don't Come Back
11. It's Easy To Say
12. Tell Her For Me
13. Talk 'Bout My Love
14. All Through Cryin'

Product Description

Product Description

Highly acclaimed on the British and continental R&B pub and club circuit since the 1980s, singer-songwriter-guitarist James Hunter is finally given a deserved wider forum via the unusual twist of being signed by an American record company and exported back to his home territory. James and his band first attracted the attention of lovers of authentic sounding '50s & '60s style R&B music while calling themselves Howlin' Wilf & The Vee Jays. After several releases under this fanciful alias, he and a revamped band recorded a couple of critically acclaimed albums under his own name during the second half of the '90s. This latest release, his strongest to date, features 14 original tracks written and arranged by Hunter, who partnered with producer Liam Watson to create a wonderfully rich, classic R&B/Soul sound recorded at Watson’s Toe Rag Studios in East London (also home to "Elephant" by The White Stripes), where vintage analogue equipment has captured the warmth of Hunter’s infectious vocal and guitar performances, clever songwriting and tight horn arrangements. He is accompanied by longtime cohorts Damian Hand (tenor sax), Lee Badau (tenor sax), Jason Wilson (double bass) and Jonathan Lee (drums/percussion), with guests Carywn Ellis (Hammond organ), Tom Morgan (piano) and Gavin Whitlock (baritone sax). Tracks: People Gonna Talk / No Smoke Without Fire / You Can’t Win / Riot In My Heart / 'Til Your Fool Comes Home / Mollena / I’ll Walk Away / Watch & Chain / Kick It Around / Don’t Come Back / It’s Easy To Say / Tell Her For Me / Talkin’ ’Bout My Love / All Through Cryin’.

Amazon.co.uk

Van Morrison calls James Hunter 'the best voice and best-kept secret in British R&B and soul.' And the Colchester native and former busker does, indeed, sound like a one-man blue-eyed revival on his US debut, People Gonna Talk. He navigates 14 self-penned ska (the title track), soul-blues ("Kick It Around"), and primal funk ("No Smoke Without Fire") tunes with panache. Hunter's voice unerringly carves out graceful melodies and soars into falsetto at whim over his horn-sparked band as he digs through his vast bag of traditional, stinging blues'n'soul licks on electric guitar. But... there's something missing. Although the disc was cut live in the studio, it lacks the vibrant energy of his stage performances. And Hunter borrows so extensively from his influences that he sounds like he's covering Bobby Bland, Howard Tate, James Brown, and the Studio One roster rather than traveling his own path. Nevertheless, as Morrison intimates, Hunter's estimable singing and playing will please fans of classic R&B and soul. --Ted Drozdowski

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Mar. 2006
Format: Audio CD
Who would have thought that a throwback CD that takes us back to the R&B days of forty years ago could come from a singer and musician from Colchester? I didn’t expect it but I’m glad I discovered James Hunter while flipping through the radio dials one day. I heard the tail end of “Don’t Come Back” (Track 10) and was hooked. The voice sounded familiar and I expected to recognize the name of the singer afterwards but I had no clue. Intrigued, I went out and purchased the CD. I was not disappointed and it will remain near the top of my play list for quite some time.
“People Gonna Talk” contains 14 excellent tracks, all written by Hunter. The title track, People Gonna Talk, Mollena, and Don’t Come Back, were particularly good. Hunter does well both on the upbeat tracks and the more mournful, bluesy tracks. His voice and his guitar playing work well on both types of song.
The arrangements are classic, relatively simple R&B arrangements that had a strong Memphis and Southern feel to it. Hunter has a distinctive voice with a good range that at times had echoes of Ray Charles, Otis Redding and Aaron Neville. This is not to say that Hunter can match any of those giants but it is clear that Hunter’s voice has some common musical DNA with all three which is pretty high praise. The downside to hearing these echoes is the concern that Hunter is more imitative than creative. That is a legitimate concern to be sure but after listening to the CD a number of times I think it safe to say that Hunter does have a style of his own even while paying homage to musicians he must have learned from while he was growing up.
If you like classic R&B you will like People Gonna Talk. The CD had the dual benefit of bringing back fond memories of the music of my youth with fresh new songs but a talented, young performer.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ben VINE VOICE on 6 Sept. 2006
Format: Audio CD
Just as Richard Hawley creates albums that seem beamed in directly from some time during the 1950s, James Hunter equally pulls off the trick of rekindling the vibe of some long forgotten soul album, without appearing cliched, ironic or cabaret.

I think "People Gonna Talk" is an exceptionally impressive record. The ingredients for a strong album are all there; it's brilliantly played by an understanding team of musicians and recorded wonderfully, and sympathetically, by Liam Watson in Toe Rag Studios (this being the man the White Stripes favour for his love and admiration of vintage recording equipment, which fits the music here perfectly).

Perhaps Hunter's strongest achievement is his restraint. Despite a hefty quota of great songs this is a record that consciously avoids flashy tricks or throwing in any obviously commercial "hit" songs. The band, and music, keep things reined in - only letting go at just the right moment. For example, Hunter's razor sharp guitar work, employed only on occasional numbers, appears in rather fleeting, exciting bursts. The real punch though is kept for his vocals, where his smooth but smoky phrasing fits the musical era he's trying to conjure. Hunter might remind you of Sam Cooke, but he doesn't imitate him.

By avoiding any obvious 'showing off', or using corny lyrical sentiments, Hunter and his band have crafted an impressive, enjoyable and extremely cool record.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Iain Ross on 20 July 2006
Format: Audio CD
I feel so stupid in not finding out about James Hunter years ago.

Not in a long time can I say that I have been more excited about hearing an album than this one. Every track is great- how many albums can you say that about!.

As other people have commented, James is a cross between the wonderful Sam Cooke with a James Brown type backing,with shades of the Drifters stuck in there for good measure.

But it's the whole sound that gets you. The songs are great, the voice and guitar, exquisite.

Probably James is the best soul/blues singer guitarist ever to come out of Britain.

If you like proper soul/r+b,(not the mush that masquerades as it nowadays),then you'll probably like James.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Laura MacMahon on 20 July 2006
Format: Audio CD
... And rightfully so! This is the most exciting music I have heard in the entire span of 2006. Fresh sounding yet still alluring and nostalgically familiar, there's not a duff track on the entire disc--and all 14 songs are originally penned by Mr. Hunter. R&B, Soul, Roots-Rock, whatever one's pigeon-hole label, you can't go wrong with adding "People Gonna Talk" to your own collection. Each track has its' own individual personality and brilliance but the vocals, lyrics, arrangements, horns, strings and overall "sound" are nothing shy of excellent. AND if one is lucky enough to see James Hunter perform live (WHOA!!!), consider yourself a witness to history. Five stars and beyond is my vote! Hurrah for us!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Smokey Topaz on 4 Sept. 2006
Format: Audio CD
Oh My God....are there anymore stars than 5?

I haven't been this excited since the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. One drop of James Hunter singing and I'm ready to dump my life for that of a groupee. The singing is great, the lyrics are easy,creative,and sensative, The beat makes you move whether you want to or not, And that saxaphone..... good luck not salivating all over yourself. Buy it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. John Finney on 9 Jun. 2007
Format: Audio CD
All i can say is.... WOW !!!.
Van Morrison,,,,sam cooke,,, early Drifters , jackie wilson and a touch of Gene chandler all rolled into one.
Makes a nice change to see such a very, very talented Brit Pumping out such great music.
I want a voice like THAT !!.

I`m in heaven !!! ( when you smile ).

John In Baaarnsley.
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