Daptone Records presents The James Hunter Six’s latest offering, With Love: a heart-shaped collection of candle-lit ballads and love songs. Plucked like so many « he loves you » petals from the vast and sumptuous garden of his Daptone Recordings, these twelve lilting melodies have been selected and sequenced with great care, tenderness, and intention by Daptone staff for the solitary purpose of compiling some of the criminally overlooked treasures in the James Hunter Six’s critically acclaimed catalog.
The needle drops on « I Don’t Wanna Be Without You. » Saxophones grabbing your collar, pulling you close. Moving you over the undulating curves of a rhumba. The coquettish bubbling of the organ. James words curl casually into your ear, When we met, I was pretty well set in my ways… There is an effortless intimacy here. The casual confidence of a song-smith who has honed his craft beyond reproach. Not just the lyrics, but the melodies, the harmonies, the rhythms, phrasing, all locking into perfect synchronicity. A unified devotion serving only their master’s voice. And his voice. Almost violently tender, plucking lyrics off a seemingly endless vine and feeding them to you with the eager patience of a lover.
There is a common theme here. It’s not a record about infidelity, shallow seductions, fleeting backdoor trysts, or any of the other common clichés of R&B. These are poetic testaments to truer love. Loyalty, devotion, humility, and the inevitable regret of those who take love for granted. Clearly inspired by his new bride, Hunter is singing about the preciousness of a love he plans to keep, Whatever It Takes.