Sometimes there’s nothing finer than to lose yourself in some old-school blues flavoured with the classic soul sound of Sam Cooke. Such is what you get with Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges, a Louisiana-born bluesman whose music is strongly influenced by his vocal similarity to Sam Cooke and, maybe to a lesser extent, by his early schooling in gospel music. Manhaton Records have just re-released this 1998 disc that originally appeared on the UK label, Blueside. This recording represented Eugene’s arrival as a solo artist and presents a vibrant electric blues sound that is beautifully sweet and tender; there’s a soft liquidity to virtually every note from his electric guitar, but it’s that voice that will suck you in. That wonderful combination of easy power and tender yearning that makes Sam Cooke such a fondly remembered artist seems to have been passed on in full to Eugene Bridges.
You’re not going to be surprised by any lyrical content here: the age-old dance between men and women is revisited in the ten original songs. Titles like Tears of a Fool and (My Only Reason for Working) Ain’t No Reason No More tell of familiar misunderstandings across the gender divide, whilst songs like Born To Be Blue reflect his lifelong enthusiasm for his chosen artform. If you listen to the crying notes he wrings from his guitar on a slow number like Aching Heart, you’ll know you’re listening to a man who feels the spirit of the blues to his marrow. It’s a very fine band that he has backing him up here, mostly restraining themselves to providing a platform for the mainman, though there’s some real fire from the keyboards of Peter Zivkovic and James Hallawell. The twelve song collection is rounded off with a couple of Sam Cooke songs, Good Times and A Change is Gonna Come, fine versions both, with the memory of the originals strong enough to let you know the ways in which Eugene Bridges brings his own individual qualities – a little more muscularity and resonance, I would say – to this area of blues music; maybe it’s a paradox but it’s a blues that leaves me cheerful.
Add a Comment