Eric Hughes Band
Postcard from Beale Street
Endless Blues Records
Eric Hughes was born and raised in Memphis. He spent weekends across the river in Mississippi where he honed his appreciation for the blues. He attended Mississippi College in Clinton and later joined the Marines. Homesick for some blues he purchased a guitar and spent the next ten years learning from the elders. He began playing the clubs on Beale in 2001, and has logged over 4000 performances on that street. Eric and his band members have toured and recorded with Albert and B.B. King, Little Milton, Bobby “Blue” Bland and countless others. Hughes’ many awards include The Memphis Blues Societies “Best Self-Produced CD”; and Big City Blues Magazine’s “Coolest Blues Song of 2013”.
The Eric Hughes Band includes Hughes, harmonica, guitar, percussion and vocals; his brother Walter, guitar and backing vocals; Leo Goff, bass; and Brian Aylor, drums and percussion. They are joined on “Postcard from Beale Street” by session players Rick Steff, keyboards; Executive Producer Mick Kolassa, percussion; and the horn section of Marc Franklin, trumpet; and Kirk Smothers, saxophone. All of the songs are written by Hughes who once again proves himself a great songwriter and storyteller. The album is produced by Hughes and recorded at the Ardent Studios in Memphis, and the Farmhouse Studios in Moscow, Tennessee. Jeff Jensen is credited as Production Consultant.
Opening with “Ain’t Whipped Yet” Eric, a survivor who earned the nickname “Scrappie”, proves himself a capable vocalist. The rhythm section lays down the strong foundation that enables Eric’s harp and Walter’s guitar solos. “Oh, Booze!” is a jazzy 1920’s styled blues that captures the essence of Beale’s past featuring the horns of Franklin and Smothers; and it could even be a bit of film noir.
“He’s Just An Alley Cat” is a rockin’, churnin’, burnin’ piece of Memphis funk. “Follow Your Stupid Little Dreams” is a bit of vaudeville. “Homesick Angel” is Hughes tribute to his grandfather, a fighter-pilot. “Fair Weather Friends” is a timeless tale and Hughes best vocal, featuring Aylor’s big beats. “Blackberry Patch” is about Hughes grandparents rural home which has since been paved over.
“Come See About Me” is about yearning to re-unite with a loved one and features Hughes’ sweet harp. We can all identify with “Waiting For That Day”, our last day of work, when it’s finally retirement; Steff is on organ while the Hughes brothers take their respective solos. The closer is “It’s 4:20 Somewhere”, a take-off on “it’s five o’clock somewhere” and for those who prefer to light up rather than drink; it’s a hoot when the band chimes in on the chorus.
This is a great new album from storyteller Hughes, one of Memphis’ favorite sons.