Back in the 1980s, 1960s soul was both hipper than hip and popular enough to catapult Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson into the upper reaches of the charts years after their death.
With the possible exception of Terence Trent D’Arby, whose music was of a distinctly modern hue, nobody emerged to pick up their baton and produce new material good enough to challenge the r ’n’ b of two decades before.
Which is where Leon Bridges comes in. The 25-year-old Texan’s debut album pulls off the neat trick of sounding both fresh as a daisy and as if it was produced sometime around 1965.
Channelling by turns Cooke and Otis Redding, he could perhaps do with stamping his own identity on the whole affair a little more, but not many singers today pull off lines like “Let me be your cargo – I won’t wear you down” (Smooth Sailin’) without sounding remotely slimy, and for that he deserves much kudos.
Like this? Try these: Otis Redding, Otis Blue; Sam Cooke at the Copa
By Andrew Greenhalgh