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The Hard Way [Vinyl]


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Vinyl, June 17, 2008
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (June 17, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hear Music
  • ASIN: B00187PNL0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,914 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Hard Way
2. Tell Her
3. Don't Do Me No Favours
4. Carina
5. She's Got a Way
6. 'Til the End
7. Hand It Over
8. Jacqueline
9. Class Act
10. Ain't Goin' Nowhere
11. Believe Me Baby
12. Strange But True

Editorial Reviews

Eagerly awaited 2008 album from the British retro-Soul singing sensation, the follow-up to his Grammy-nominated People Gonna Talk album from 2006. The Hard Way is Hunter's giant step toward staking his place in the Pop-Soul pantheon alongside Same Cook, Jackie Wilson, Charlie Rich and Van Morrison. Three of the album's cuts feature special guest Allen Toussaint on piano. 12 tracks.

Customer Reviews

Buy this guy's album.
Mike Hurst
To listen to James play is as good as it gets......enjoy!
jcs
The man has impeccable good taste!
Mike B.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mike B. on June 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD
James Hunter is less Sam Cooke on this one, and more Ray Charles. He's clearly been absorbing the Atlantic/Stax catalogue - which is a great thing. Why not learn from the best?

Like on his previous CD, it's all original material. Hunter continues to exhibit his rare gift for writing songs that come out sounding like old r&b classics from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. And that's not easy. In fact, I can't think of any other current artist able to do it!

This is punchier, with more grit and growl than the ultra-smooth "People Gonna Talk" - and better reflects the energy of his "live" show. It's another beautifully paced mixture of mid-tempo and up-tempo compositions, with only a couple slow numbers. Many tracks feature prominent sax, keyboards, and sometimes a low-key violin section. As a whole, it rocks a little more than its predecessor - and has a somewhat looser, more organic feel to it. He sounds more contemporary. Lyrically, these are songs of unrequited love - the romantic pleas of a persistent suitor - but they're never sad or morose. A couple others offer hard-won advice gleaned from life lessons. In either case, he lets you know he's a survivor and a fighter.

For a guitar hotshot, Hunter seems to prefer being an understated team player - really letting loose only a few times. "Don't Do Me No Favours", "Til The End", and "Ain't Goin' Nowhere" all contain incendiary guitar work. "Carina" is similar to "Mollena" from the last CD. It's a sound I love - like Ben E. King and the Drifters. "She's Got A Way" slightly resembles Ray Charles' "I Got A Woman", while "Believe Me Baby" channels Ray's "What'd I Say" with a chorus nod to Rufus Thomas' "Walking The Dog" (featuring great Allen Toussaint piano).
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 11, 2008
Format: Audio CD
When I first heard James Hunter, I thought I'd missed something from the 60's. Something really good, that is--something I'd have dug a quarter out of my ragged jeans to hear on the jukebox good.

The reviewers who describe Hunter's voice as a growl are right--but he can purr, too. This is a strong entree into the new retro soul movement and a very welcome one. The beat's strong here and you just want to get up and dance.

So far, "Believe me Baby," "The Hard Way" and "Don't do me no Favours" are my top favorites of this CD, but I suspect I'm going to have a new favorite each time I listen. Love it--brand new and sounding like a classic.

Rebecca Kyle, June 2008
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pamela S. Steen on August 1, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I couldn't imagine who was singing those soulful, Motown, Temptations-like tunes I grew up with from CKLW when I heard them on WMNF only 2 months ago. This is a great addition to my CD collection. No better purchase can be made if you love the Temptations and R & B from the 60's and early 70's...What a great voice, excellent backups and musicians who do it the right way. I am so glad I bought it. Just purchased two more of his CDs. Thanks for having it in stock!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Williamson on June 21, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought James Hunters previous album just because I liked the cover photo! First track had me thinking 'not my kinda music', by the end I just started it up from the beginning again - not done that in years! Since then delving into his back catalog has yielded still more warm, genuine and heartfelt music - label it what you will as 'soul', 'R&B", 'blue eyed soul' does not really do his contemporary, but retro, song style justice.

The guy can not only sing with grit and authentic emotion, he plays a mean lead guitar that does not get in the way of the song. The band are exemplary with great grooves and awesome brass (plus the best sax solo in years). Each song has a mood and a comfortable feel but with the wit and twists to make it all James's personal statement.

Recorded at a back to basics 50/60's equipment studio in London, this album captures the feeling of a bygone age without ever feeling stale or dated - more like rediscovering what makes music great in this pro-tools digitized age.

Whatever music you are into, if this album doesnt raise a smile, tap a toe or get you shouting 'Oh Yeah!!!' at least three times, check your pulse - you may be dead.

Get it - you wont regret it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jcs on July 28, 2008
Format: Vinyl
In my humble opinion, James Hunter is musics most underrated performer. He simply puts out tremendous music, plays intimate venues that allow you to be fortunate enough to be there listening. If you ever get the chance, try to see him in concert or at least get his CD to listen to truly one of musics magical performers. If you get the idea that i think he is pretty good, that would be an understatement. To listen to James play is as good as it gets......enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richie Libertine on August 17, 2008
Format: Audio CD
James Hunter new release "The Hard Way" meets the challenge of putting out an album that rivals his previous release, "People Gonna Talk." Although Hunter shows his rockin' fervor with "Don't do me no favors" and "Jacqueline," he shows his balladeer expertise with "Hand it Over" and the ska tinged "Carina."
As in previous albums, his voice hearkens back to Jackie Wilson, which he does with the title track and "Ain't going nowhere". However, their seems to be more of a Ray Charles influence, which is evident in the aforementioned "Don't do me no favors,""She's got a Way" and "Believe me Baby."
Credit is also due to Hunter's backing band that is tight sounding as ever. If you get to see them in concert, you will be energized and buzzed all night long.
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