Leon Bridges: Coming Home

Defiantly old-school soul from a hot young name.

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To quote one of the songs here, it appears to be Smooth Sailin’ for this 26-year-old Texan vocalist: an overnight success with instant sell-out gigs and TV slots.

Bridges certainly makes all the right noises for a 60s soul throwback. Twistin’ And Groovin’ features Allmanesque slide and Better Man is a perfectly executed and styled ‘65 groove.

What’s puzzling, however, are comparisons to Otis Redding – Otis at Monterey sweats, Leon at Glastonbury stands still at the mic and introduces one song after another.

Sam Cooke? There’s similarity in the velvety tones, but there’s no A Change Is Gonna Come on this record, which steers clear of messages in favour of songs about pretty girls, showing respect to his mother and treating his baby right. Nothing wrong with those and Bridges shouldn’t try to be something he isn’t, but this leaves the question as to who he really is beneath the retro trappings.

Claudia Elliott

Claudia Elliott is a music writer and sub-editor. She has freelanced for BBC Radio 2's Sounds of the 60s, Uncut, History of Rock, Classic Rock and The Blues magazine. She is a 1960s music specialist.