In Meet Me In Memphis, Eric Hughes and his band do a fabulous job of not only capturing Memphis in all its diversity but of moving smoothly from blues to blues-rock with hints of soul and country as well.
Hughes and the band start out with a powerful blues rocker, “Freight Train of Pain,” just to show what they can do. They then launch into “Meet Me in Memphis,” such a powerful ad for the city that you may find yourself packing your suitcase and heading for Beale! The voices of Reba Russell and Susan Marshal on the chorus invite you into church and the piano and organ, played by Chris Stephenson, add to the gospel flavor, while Art Edmaiston and Marc Franklin, on saxophone and trumpet add spice and beckon you to the clubs along Beale.
“Roll a Fatty For Your Daddy” is pure blues, the sort of song you might hear on a Memphis street corner back in the day. It is followed by a highlight of the album, “The Day They Hanged the Kid.” This epic piece of storytelling in song captures the grit of classic Western movies.
“Here Comes the Boogie Man” is a different kind of storytelling song, one that evokes scary movies and campfire tales, before the mood changes completely for the sweet, slightly vintage-sounding ballad, “:I Left My Heart at Your Place (For Donna).”
“Midtown Blues” is a humorous blues with smoking music behind Hughes’ sly vocals. It is followed by the blues-rocker, “I’m Knockin’ On Your Door,” a tale of love and suspicion. The Album ends with the charming ‘i Believe I’m Going Fishing,” an ode to that activity. It leaves you feeling good.
There are hints here of the old bluesmen, of ZZ Top and Jimmy Buffet. But mostly there’s Memphis. Hughes has done a great job of capturing his hometown, and the album is a delight.