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Live In San Antonio

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Album Review

Eugene "Hideaway" Bridges is a blues artist who offers music that is not advanced or out of the ordinary, but assures everybody a real good time. These live sessions at Chango's Havana Club in San Antonio, TX, showcase Bridges and his band at the height of their party-making powers in a very strong set of electric blues featuring original material. Where Bridges might be a bit short-sighted in that many of these songs bear familiar or even classic titles, they are not the songs seasoned blues lovers would know. Nonetheless, the bandmembers play with their collective hearts and souls, while the leader sings tough, rough-and-ready modern blues with an urban edge similar to a cross between B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland. Organist David Webb and electric bass guitarist Eric "Lollipop" King are well above average as accompanists, while trumpeter Justine M. Miller and saxophonist Seth Kibel add plenty of soulful punch to a potent band that Bridges commands. The leader favors a style not so much in the Texas swing blues tradition, but does gravitate toward music influenced by big-name predecessors. A song built on the "don't go away" theme, "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day" is a fairly good cover of Sam Cooke, while Cooke and Lou Rawls wrote "Movin' and A-Groovin'," done without commercial concessions. All the rest are written by Bridges, though the rocking warm-up "I Got the Blues," midtempo "Woke Up This Morning," funky and contemporary "Little Boy Blue," and outstanding lone real Texas swinger "Won't Be Your Fool" all have copped headers from great blues songs, but different lyrics. "Real Hero" is totally original within its king-meets-kingsnake slinky singing and big beat bass drum accents, the autobiographical "Bluesman" is an on-the-road song from the personal perspective of Bridges, and "I Know That You Love Me" deviates somewhat in its good-time bompity-bop calypso rhythms. In an extension of Cooke's traditional spirit soul-blues, "I Found It" stands out not only for its honest and pure intent, but it also seems more naturally derived. But when it's time to party and get down, Bridges and his band cut loose on "Giving Up on Love," tossing away any airs or pretension to rock the house down, while the equally energetic closer, "Jump the Joint," recalls Louis Jordan's "Let the Good Times Roll" in that the band could indeed likely play all night long. While the band and Bridges are in rare form, this release cannot completely capture their charisma and dynamism as experienced by patrons actually being at a live show. Still, a companion DVD notwithstanding, this audio offering is going to be an item all fun-loving electric blues lovers will want in their collections, and comes recommended without reservation. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Live In San Antonio, Eugene Hideaway Bridges
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