Friday, September 18, 2015

Joe “Guitar” Hughes' Stuff Like That

Joe “Guitar” Hughes
Stuff Like That
Blues Express BEI-0002-1

Stuff Like That/ A Blues Song/ Ouchie Baby/ My Baby Told Me/ Pit Bull/ Going to San Francisco/ Bad Dreams/ When a Man Loves a Woman/ If You Want to See the Blues/ Bonus Track - Interview with Joe. 56:25.

Hughes, g, v; Bobby Murray, g; Leonard Gill, b; Tim Brockett, org; Dave Matthews, kybds; Tony Coleman, d; George Brooks; s; Mic Gillette, tbn, Marvin McFadden, tpt. San Francisco CA.

Part of Houston’s vibrant blues scene of the past five decades, Joe Hughes may not be as celebrated as his good friend, the late Johnny Copeland. This fact that hopefully will change with the release of "Stuff Like That" on Blues Express. Hughes played around the various Houston clubs, toured with a variety of R&B giants, and spent some time as a session musician for Duke before he decided he wanted to stay at home rather than deal with the road life. A trip to Europe with Copeland helped reinvigorate his career and this is the latest of several albums he has recorded, the first this reviewer has heard.

It is a terrific live recording with a brassy band backing up Hughes strong, jazzy guitar leads and smooth, soulful singing that is reminiscent of the legendary Junior Parker. There is variety in material that is performed at a high level. “My Baby Told Me” is a solid slow blues about his woman telling him not to do as she does, but do as she tell him to do so that they are making love she get exactly what she wants. Melodically, it is suggestive of “Going to Chicago” and there is some call and response between the guitars of Hughes and Bobby Murray. An instrumental version of “When A Man Loves A Woman” is nicely delivered. Hughes other originals are fresh lyrically, his musicianship exemplary and the band is wonderful specially given the fact that they avoid playing classic blues tunes. This strong release makes one why Hughes’ name is not better known among blues fans.

This review was written for Cadence Magazine and appeared there in 2002. I likely received a review copy from the publication. Below is a video of him performing from a DVD "Texas Bluesman." Both "Stuff Like That"and "Texas Bluesman" are still available.

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