ANEHEIM, Calif. -- The 1996 debut album by James Hunter, whose current album People Gonna Talk
has taught 21st century audiences the joys of early American soul music and rhythm & blues, will receive a U.S. release date August 29 on Hep Cat Records (through Hep Cat Distribution) -- only 10 years late. The album was originally released on Ace Records in the U.K.
Believe What I Say will not disappoint those who find themselves under the spell of People Gonna Talk. Even back in '96, Hunter's Sam Cooke- and Jackie Wilson-influenced vocals and the band's fat horn-driven rhythm & blues nuances were keenly developed. The album contains nine Hunter originals, plus two Bobby Blue" Bland songs ("Turn On Your Love Light" and Ain't Nothing You Can Do," both with backing vocals from Van Morrison) and one by Ray Charles ("Hallelujah I Love Her So").
In addition to the two vocals contributions from Morrison, Hunter was also joined by the late Doris Troy on his original song Hear Me Calling." Troy was best known for her own hit Just One Look," as well as her backing vocals on the Rolling Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want," plus her own singles on the Beatles' Apple Records.
The album was engineered by Nick Robbins, whose credits include The Charlatans, My Bloody Valentine, The Pogues and Ali Farka Toure.
The New York Times, reacting to Hunter's critically hailed 2006 album People Gonna Talk, wrote: Studiously recreating the delicate and comforting soul sound of Cooke, Jackie Wilson and lesser-known figures like Roy Hamilton and Little Willie John, Mr. Hunter has mastered a territory of American music beloved by fans and collectors worldwide. And with touches of Chuck Berry guitar and some falsetto shouts from the playbook of James Brown, his style is too eclectic to be easily pigeonholed." The album was No. 1 on Billboard's blues chart for three weeks and earned Hunter stints on The Tonight Show" and Late Night with Conan O'Brien." He is scheduled to tour the U.S. in July and August.