Voices at Large

Hunter Gets You Jumpin'

02 JUL 08 JULIE MURRAY PORTER

The Hard Way has been on heavy rotation in the Murray Porter household since I first received the advance. Naturally, the second I found out James Hunter was on tour and would be playing at the Troubadour in West Hollywood July 1, it was locked in my calendar. And his long-awaited performance last night did not disappoint.

James took the stage, looking dapper as always in a stylish gray suit, and performed older favorites and new tunes off The Hard Way. Although Van Morrison called him one of the "best kept secrets in British R&B soul," Hunter is clearly no secret anymore. It was Tuesday night and the place was packed!

The band was on fire, and the crowd was partying like it was 1999 (or 1959, perhaps). In between songs he charmed the audience, at one point saying, "If you feel like jumpin' about, don't let this one stop you."

He and his band then busted into "Jacqueline," a song named after his wife and one of my favorite tunes off the new CD. The crowd was dancing, doing the twist and other moves when suddenly the guy next to me yelled "He's like Sam Cooke meets Ray Charles with a cockney accent!" During the encore, James put in a set of fake teeth and the crowd went wild. Awww, talented and funny!

Jeff Lorber - Hacienda