Eugene Hideaway Bridges' "Born to Be Blue" (Blueside: WESF 105) is one of the best albums of 1998. Guitar playing Bridges, who divides his time between the USA and Europe, was mainly influenced by his father (Hideaway Slim) and B.B. King. He also has a wonderful mellifluous voice -- listen to the opener "If You Don't Wanna Love Me," and the two covers ("Good Times" and "A Change is Gonna Come") and you'll see why he's often compared to Sam Cooke. The end result, however, is a style very much Bridges own, with a degree of versatility that allows him to seamlessly swap between Blues, Soul, Gospel and Funk. To cap it all, he's a great songwriter too, with a good ear for a catchy melody -- check out "Good Thang." The only surprise is that Bridges had to build his reputation in Europe first, working with Big Joe Turner's Memphis Blues Caravan, before forming his own band in 1997.
Blueside records: www.vci.com (look under Music, then Blues).
This review is copyright © 1999 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.