Review – Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges with Patsy Gamble at Vonnies Blues Club

Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges
Vonnie’s Blues Club, Charlton Kings 31.10.2018

After playing Bangkok just forty-eight hours earlier, Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges was back in
Vonnie’s to play a very special set. No touring band this time but he was joined by Patsy Gamble on saxophones. Celebrating fifty-two years as a bluesman, a full house welcomed him for a gig supporting Dave Jones’ Lifting The Blues charity, with a world tour behind him and a new album to promote.
Eugene, Stetson on as ever, sat down, plugged in and for the next two hours played and shared stories about his inspirations, including the influence of his father Hideaway Slim in his life, “My dad taught me guitar: my mom taught me how to sing, “cause dad couldn’t sing at all!’ Eugene’s voice is so like the young Sam Cooke’s, so a medley of his songs, the soul hits, the pop hits and the gospel songs had everyone joining in: still the songs are as well-known as ever. Eugene has the voice of Sam but plays like B.B. King: he spoke about playing in front of the house with B.B. before playing ‘Sweet Little Angel’ with a touch of sax in there as well.
What made this set so special was being a rare chance to catch Eugene on his own, and
throughout his guitar work was outstanding: after a while you didn’t miss the full band sound because his playing was full and vibrant. Patsy’s sax brought in some tasty solos that at times were pretty funky: a widely-used session player, with her own band, she drew on her experience to just drop things in where needed perfectly.
Eugene brought in songs that rendered solo showed a whole new depth and feel: from taking a girl home to ‘Mom And Daddy’s Place’, to ‘Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day’, and a brand new song that will be on his next album (where he will be joined by B.B. King’s old drummer). One he wrote on the plane back to London from Australia. where he’d flown just to play one song at a wedding then flew back again: he sang acappella until he got everyone to join in, before moving into T—Bone Walker’s ‘Stormy Monday Blues’. The two hours went far too quickly and he closed the set with songs from his current Live In Tallahassee album (the venue for which recently had a tree fall on it in the hurricane there!) He closed the set with ‘l’m Holding On’, then ‘Rise Above lt’, before he encored with “I’ll Be A King’.
After all these years as a bluesman he remains one of the finest in the world, his voice and guitar still producing the music we love so much. This was a truly outstanding night by an absolute legend of the blues. A big thank you to Patsy Gamble for her wonderful playing,
making this one of those really special gigs everyone will remember for a very long time!

Pete Clack

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