Sunday, August 05, 2012

Hideaway Bridges Heard Live in San Antonio

For me, one of the highlights of the 2012 Pennsylvania Blues Festival was seeing Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges for the first time in a few years. He was backed by a tight band that included Eric ‘Lollipop’ King on bass, Justine M. Miller on trumpet and Seth Kibel on tenor saxophone. It was a strong set filled with his fluid guitar runs and soulful vocals. For those who have never heard this gentlemen perform I might suggest that he is a cross between Sam Cooke and sixties B.B. King.

At the Festival I purchased Live in San Antonio (Armadillo Music) that was recorded at Chango’s Havana Club in San Antonio. King, Miller and Kibel are present on this 2009 CD release along with David Webb on keyboards. Many of the songs performed in the Pennsylvania Blues Festival are on this recording and the feel of the performances are very similar although Webb’s keyboards and the presence of a percussionist in addition to drums give a slightly different sound.

From the opening I Got the Blues, through the closing Jump the Joint, Bridges’
Bridges vocals recall Sam Cooke as readily apparent on Movin’ and Groovin’, which Cooke wrote with Lou Rawls as well as Rome Wasn’t Built in A Day, that Johnnie Taylor originally recorded for Cooke’s SAR label. It is not a matter of imitating Cooke as the fact his voice is similar.

The album provides a nice and representative overview of Bridges’ blues including the hot Giving Up On Love; his homage to the working folk on Real Hero with its Hootchie Kootchie Man based melody; Bluesman with its incorporation of the Isley Brothers’ Fight The Power groove; the James Brown influenced funk of I Know That You Love Me on which the band members all take solos; and the closing Jump the Joint, that concludes this superb live recording of a considerably underrated blues artist.

Here is a video of Hideaway Bridges performing.

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