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Eugene 'Hideaway' Bridges
Beards Blues, Jack Beards,Tooting -
Saturday 4th June 2005

A new regular night featuring top notch national and international blues artists has to be applauded, and it was very encouraging to find a large turnout for Eugene 'Hideaway' Bridges. Promoter Pete Feenstra tells us that, although this is only the sixth event since launching the club, he is very pleased with how it's gone so far. The coming months will see visiting Amercians such as Mojo Buford, Studebaker John and Hamilton Loomis, and British acts such as Ruthless Blues and
Stan Webbs Chicken Shack. Full details of Pete's website www.feenstra.co.uk.

Steeped in the gospel soul blues tradition, Bridges is a big man, wearing a big hat, and after a striaghtforward chunky opener. "B.B. King in hat" was the initial assesment of Vinve Velour, once again on reviewer support duties) we got a solo number which justified all the Sam Cooke comparisons you may have read elsewhere. We got gospel preacher style rapping, not a little BB Kingery, and on more than one occasion I thought of Robert Cray and Joe Loui
s Walker. Not a bad frame of reference, although sitting in the back room of a Tooting pub it did take me a little while to get my head around it, and this may account for the first set feeling slightly flat.

By the second set things had warmed up considerably. After a solo accoustic opening we were straight into the swinging 'Jump The Joint' with some fantastic guitar playing. Although his singing is much talked about, as a guitar player he shows a lot of class - avoiding cliche and with a lyrical melodic style. "Sounds like he should have been in The Isley Brothers" said Vince, admiringly.

The rest of the evening flowed well. Clearly this is a man who knows how to work an audience and a varied collection of mostly original numbers were delivered with a high degree of finess. I did find myself wishing there was a large brass section and singers backing him up in the proper soul manner, but I guess that's the economics of the modern blues world and overall It was a pretty good show. Hats off to Eugene, and hats off to Pete for putting on these kind of shows.

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