I’ve found your best new summer album. James Hunter‘s crisp retro sounds on People Gonna Talk (2006, Rounder Records) are equally at home drifting out of an old jukebox at the back of a diner or your iPod speakers at your next summer picnic.
Hunter has a voice that mightily channels Sam Cooke, songs with horns a la James Brown or Van Morrison, hints of rich surf guitar, and harmonies that would make the Temptations turn their heads. This feels like a record full of oldies that you somehow missed – you pull it out, put it on the turntable, and there is a sense of recognition, like you’ve heard them before. Hunter does absolutely nothing new, but the laid-back retro goodness suits me just fine.
I had a really hard time picking which songs to post, so also make sure to stream other great tunes on his MySpace page, such as the title track “People Gonna Talk” and the slow-dance-at-the-sock-hop tune “Mollena,” with the simple innocence of the lyric that makes me smile: “Guess I could fall into a whole world of trouble over you.” Listen to the smooth-as-butter way he sings it.
Buy it pronto, it’s the best disc yet for the 2006 summertime blues; drivin’ around with the windows down, or layin’ in the hammock with a big glass of lemonade. I don’t know how a white boy from Colchester, England does it, but this is good stuff that should be listened to over and over all summer long.