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James Hunter

The Hard Way

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James Hunter
The Hard Way
(Hear/Go)
The former guitarist for Van Morrison has selected a remarkably specific genre to grant new life. The coiled sensuality of Sam Cooke, The Impressions, Clyde McPhatter and Jimmy Smith tends to be overlooked as a key component of soul, overshadowed by sweat, grit and dance moves. As on 2006's People Gonna Talk, Hunter opens The Hard Way, a 1963 time warp, with utter originality and verve. This time there's a bit more sweetening (strings, muted trumpet) that makes for a fuller sound. On occasion, Hunter will break into a Freddie King move on guitar, just to show how his ideal could be even better.
--Doug Taylor

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