EUGENE “HIDEAWAY” BRIDGES Roots and Vines Armadillo 00034
Glory Glory/Farewell, My Darling/My Baby Loves Me/Good Old Days/Hold on/They Call the Wind Mariah/Rise Above It/I Will Still Be in Love With You/A Thing Called Love/Under my Roof/17 Miles to Go/How Long Will It Take/Nelly Bell/Wayward Wind/Basil’s Bar/Don’t Call It Supper/School House Blues. [67 min]
It’s been a while since the peripatetic Bridges has graced our fair city and its environs. Fear not, he’ll be around early next year! This is most recent album; it came out late 2013 and he toured behind it the last time he was around here. And it’s a corker!! A mixture of covers of a few pieces important to Eugene along with his own always fine original material. This is a laid-back, varied, and entertaining set with Eugene handling all vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, and bass guitar: The added extras include duets with Clayton Doley (B-3), and Lloyd Maines’ pedal steel on old and new pieces. Consider this nearly a solo album – it’s an well-over-dubbed masterpiece!
It opens with his solo “take” on Rev. Utah Smith’s “Glory Glory” followed by a lesser-known Sam Cooke tune, “Farewell, My Darling”. There are “pop” songs like “Wayward Wind”, or “They Call the Wind Mariah” that stuck in Bridges’ brain as a kid. “Rise Above It” is his lovely take on the “Jimmy Reed/Eddie Taylor” approach to a blues (without the harp!), while a few of the others are in a mild C&W vein – including a re-make of his “Good Old Days”. Even something resembling a work song (“17 Miles to Go”) and song for carnivores (“Don’t Call It Supper” [if there’s no meat on my plate]) in a richly varied program!
This CD is over an hour of Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges music and that’s a very varied musical swath to take on. This album was done to honor turning fifty by covering important old favorites and including some more newbies all done tastefully. There are VERY few Black musicians his age that are doing this music so organically… and so well. Eugene sounds only like himself in his singing, playing, and writing rather than a re-hash of his influences! Get yourself a copy if you’ve got big ears… you will NOT be disappointed. It’s one hell of a good album, folks! And don’t forget to go out and hear him next time he’s around – you won’t be disappointed, I guarantee. He’s the real deal.
PETER B. LOWRY