BC Hudson – Wash My Soul
Hudson Network Music
11 songs – 43 minutes
A guitarist/vocalist who’s been performing in northeastern Ohio since the ‘60s, BC Hudson’s most recent album, Jaded Heart, was a solo effort that represented the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania in the 2019 International Blues Challenge competition. This all-original follow-up follows the same format with a helping hand from several friends.
Primarily a songwriter/studio musician, this is only the third CD in Hudson’s career, which has included performances at the Kent, Canton and Creekside blues and jazz festivals. He mixes acoustic and electric guitar and doubles on bass here as he delivers tunes that are both highly percussive and hypnotic throughout.
Percussionist Jack Lavender backs BC throughout with guest appearances from Wayne Leach and Danny Gerald on harp, Dan Socha and Daryl Rowland – each of whom sit in on lead guitar for a single cut, Ilene Weisberg and Virginia King on djembe and Bethany Joy on backing vocals.
A syncopated, medium-paced shuffle beat accompanies a Hudson guitar run kick in to open “My Motor Is Running” before Leach joins the action and BC describes driving all alone on the highway as he chases the setting sun. It’s an interesting number, but fails flat, crippled by often discordant harp runs that are high in the mix.
Hudson lopes out of the gate with a multi-layered six-string attack in “Get on Home,” a driving blues that questions why a lady’s refusing to call after spending all of the day and most of the night away. It flows into the ballad “Takin’ Too Much Time,” which continues the theme forward as he stresses he’s a good provider who works his fingers to the bone.
Resignation and release set in with “I Can’t Feel Your Pain,” a slow blues that describes the lady who lives her life in solitary on a one-way street and stuffing her emotions wherever she goes. Rowland’s work on the reeds amplifies BC’s suffering throughout. The mood brightens somewhat in “I Won’t Be Subjugated,” another slow number that rises above everything that comes before. It features Joy and Socha and clever lyrics that include: “My head runs fast/My feet are slow/My heart is racing, don’t you know/I’m trying to get to my destination.”
The minor blues, “Comfortable in Quicksand,” describes the realization that the love Hudson thought he was enjoying was nothing more than being taken for a ride into the desert and now he has nowhere else to go. The tempo quickens for the easily forgettable instrumental, “Harpman Blues,” despite BC’s fretwork before “Random Rantin’ Blues” brightens the mood with an accented beat and powerful guitar lines despite the series of disjointed complaints contained in the lyrics.
The bad news continues and comes without warning in the ballad “Down At Home” before Rowland takes the lead for “Working So Hard,” in which Hudson admits he’s a prisoner of love and has lost his way. The album closes with “From the Rooftop” and BC releasing his feelings by shouting about how his woman had done him no good.
There’s no question that Hudson’s Wash My Soul delivers what the title claims. It’s interesting throughout despite its drawbacks, but will have listeners praying for better times for him ahead.