Eugene Hideaway Bridges ‘Hold On a Little Bit Longer’ (Armadillo) 4/5

Contemporary soul-blues with both a retro and modern twist is the order of the day on this well executed and varied set, that references in part Little Milton and B.B. King among others. Recorded in Austin Texas, with a full brass section and Hammond organ alternating with acoustic piano, this album harks back to the classic 1970s era of Hi and Stax records. There is a lovely attempt at 1950s B.B. King on, ‘Love You in Every Way’, with the Hammond organ of Clayton Doley to the fore and some neat guitar licks by the leader. In an old-style soul-blues vein is the mid-tempo and laid back, ‘Change Your Name’, with a killer storytelling line and immaculate delivery on the lead vocals. For a change in mood, there is a 1930s big band jazz feel to the all-instrumental, ‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’, with fine soloing from Bridges and some stabbing horns into the bargain. A good deal moodier in intent, the bass-driven, ‘Lost and lookin’, has an intimate, pared down feel unlike anything else on the rest of the album. Guest slide guitarist Mick moody takes centre stage on, ‘Hold On a Little Bit Longer’, while boogie-woogie piano is a feature of the rocking, ‘V8 Ford’. In a more contemporary musical milieu, the clipped guitar intro to, ‘Definition of Time’, hints at late 1970s Chic, before heading straight into a storming soul-blues number. Bridges has clearly listened to the southern side of blues, including, perhaps, the great Bobby Bland, and this is most ably illustrated on, ‘Special Lady’, that has a definite 1980s indie soul flavour to it. A fine offering, then, from Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges and those in need of a blues-oriented take on the Christmas theme should listen to his own distinctive, ‘Merry Christmas’, (not contained here) that has become a perennial favourite with blues listeners.

Tim Stenhouse