James Hunter Six Delivers Non-Greatest Hits Compilation Via ‘With Love’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Over the last few decades, English R&B soul singer James Hunter has been finely tuning his retro style, releasing consistently strong records on Daptone and other labels as he and his Six deliver slick sounds.  Now comes With Love, a non-greatest hits compilation of love songs from recent albums and it is an odd, lacking release, sticking to one tone throughout. 

From the beginning, the light rhumba percussion and warm vocals mix with tender instrumentation for easy on the ears sounds. “Something’s Calling” from Hold On! gets things started while the smoky “If I Only Knew” coasts in off of the excellent Minute By Minute

Bordering on redundancy, a quarter of the album is from his stout 2020 release Nick of Time. First, is the smooth slowed-down piano accented “Whose Fooling Who” the swinging B3 infused “Take It As You Find It” the breathy crooning around smooth doo-wop inspired backing of “Never” and finally the bass and drum lead “He’s Your Could’ve Been”.

The tempo shifts for the light ska/reggae-tinged “Carina” and this tune along with the fully pumping “This Is Where We Came In” shows what this band is capable of and underrepresented here; The James Hunter Six can really get after it with their retro sound and upbeat playing.        

The truth is, maybe a well-curated collection could widen The James Hunter Six’s well-earned appeal, but the one-note With Love is not it.  All these songs are good/great, but the albums they all originally appeared on are better and worth seeking out over this release. 

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