May 31, 2021
New Orleans Reggae King Ben E. Hunter Paints Vivid Musical Portraits of the Big Easy and Jamrock with New Album “Soul Avenger”
New Orleans—Acclaimed NOLA musical artist Ben E. Hunter brings New Orleans and Jamaica together to release his most iconic studio album, entitled “Soul Avenger,” a fusion of authentic delta blues, second line, and roots rock reggae.
Hunter, aka the Black Troubadour, has defined the sound - New Orleans Afro-Caribbean Reggae.
Produced by Brian and Wayne Jobson with Neil Case (Bass over Babylon) who also masterfully engineered the album, alongside the late Barry O’Hare, “Soul Avenger” is a visionary, rhythm-driven, and poetic celebration of two idioms, New Orleans Afro-American roots music and Jamaican roots music.
“New Orleans music culture greatly influenced Jamaican music through NOLA radio stations that reached Jamaican shores in the 40s, 50s, and 60s,” said Hunter. “Jamaica heard artists like Fats Domino with Big Dave Bartholomew coming in waves across the Caribbean. Now we integrate as one.”
All songs on “Soul Avenger” were written by Hunter, with the exception of buoyant covers of Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman” and Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.”
Like Peter Tosh, Hunter is a man from the past, living in the present, walking in the future. A mystic man. An intergalactic storyteller who interprets his lyric through his reedy, syncopated tenor. A Truth Teller. A Soul Avenger.
Hunter hits you with the first licks of the title track “Soul Avenger,” burning fire upon Babylon.
“Hey man look what’s happening in the streets today/violence homeless and poverty/the youth dem are dashed on the tops of every street...”
Hunter’s guided tour of reggae-inspired New Orleans continues with one drop, Rastafari driven tracks such as “The Big Easy” “War and Lies” and “Glad to See You.”
Inspired by local headlines, “Genevieve” and its accompanying dub tell the story of a New Orleans tax worker who was found murdered in her own home after exposing fraudulent practices in New Orleans.
After the struggle comes redemption. Lovers tracks “Jet Black Love” “All I Live For” and “Take Me in Your Arms” evoke memories of the days when the lone troubadour, on acoustic guitar, serenaded tourists on the sidewalks of the French Quarter.
“Shake Baby” puts the “soul” in “Soul Avenger.” The song’s undulating beat is derived from NOLA bounce culture, Afro-Haitian drums, and tremble, layered with seductive vocals by the late Suzanne Couch.
Oooh Nah Nay! One more time! After redemption comes the payoff, rapture. Through his universal reggae anthem “Love Last Stand,” Hunter delivers a message of cooperation, unity, and strength in humanity.
Jet Black Love
The Big Easy
War and Lies
All I Live For
Glad to See You
Heart of Gold
Take Me in Your Arms
Love Last Stand
About Ben E. Hunter
Ben E. Hunter has recorded three studio albums in this pioneering new New Orleans genre: "Traveler," "The Nature of Things” and "Break out Bold." Raised in the 7th Ward, Hunter is most known for his legendary reggae performance and recording history in New Orleans as a regular and ultimately trend-setting performer at Café Brazil on Frenchmen St. for more than a decade prior to Katrina, he was the creator and bandleader for both, “Ben Hunter & The Plantation Posse” and “Ben Hunter & Crucial Roots,” producing albums including “Voodoo Reggae,” “Reality Check,” “Soul Avenger Live Intergalactic” and “A Freedom Song.” In the Big Easy, Hunter has headlined at Tipitina's, House of Blues, Snug Harbor, Essence Music Fest, and performed at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for eight consecutive years. Nationally and internationally, he performed as one of the headliners for the Bob Marley Festival Tour for five years, and at Reggae Sun Splash in Montego Bay, Jamaica.