by Robert Dean
As a music nerd, few things are as satisfying as stumbling on a record at random and then being the first to put it on blast to all of your other music nerd friends. It’s like the smoke after a fantastic dinner for folks to dig in crates for vinyl or comb the hipster blogs looking for that perfect record to stream while they drive across the state next weekend.
The James Hunter Six’s newest record Whatever It Takes is precisely that record. For some reason, The James Hunter Six have alluded me. It pains me to know this incredible band was out there, spreading its brass-laced heart and soul without me, it makes me sad. Nonetheless, I’ve resolved myself to learning and loving their entire catalog, because friends and Romans, these cats are fucking amazing.
Whatever It Takes is an old-school shaken cocktail of blues, rockabilly, early R&B, Doo-Wop, and rock n' roll from the pre-Elvis era. The smooth tenor of the record is straight out of a classic Scorsese bar fight scene with red bar candles and abused Formica bar tops and the scent of smoke permeating everything, no matter how many years ago the smoking ban passed.
Whatever It Takes is a collection of songs meant for small rooms with close bodies, for people to sway and swing in comfortable shoes and sport jackets with no ties. The vibe is analog, and there’s no allusion to anything current, it’s a throwback and doesn’t miss a lick. Whatever It Takes was recorded on a classic-soul era eight-track tape and transferred over digitally. The vibe is sweaty and one that demands your attention cuz Jack, The James Hunter Six swing hard.
If you crave dulled mono-styled tones that feel straight from the classic Stax or Chess playbook, then The James Hunter Six have tapped into a vein that rivals and on some songs surpass Leon Bridges. Hunter's voice is a bombastic chameleon that can wail with the best of them, but then whisper and moan. He’s not trying to do anything outside of the norm of the genre, and that’s why Whatever It Takes works flawlessly.
“I Don’t Wanna Be Without You” is a stone cold opener that sets an immediate tone for the record, it’s breezy and a little sleazy, too. There’s plenty of overtures to sex, sin, and long nights, which for some of us is all we’re looking for when sifting through the endless choices presented every day.
Grab it off Amazon and show these dudes that have slogged it out over six records that we’re ready for their arrival.