Eddie C. Campbell: Hopes and Dreams

Eddie C. Campbell’s Hopes & Dreams reveals the guitarist-singer as a clever songwriter as well as an exponent of the tough West Side Chicago sound. Campbell’s aggressive, stinging attack summons up comparisons to the likes of Magic Sam, Jimmy Dawkins and Luther Allison, though his songwriting puts a fresh twist on that old tradition. He stakes out his most distinctive territory on the title track, the funky and mysterious “Geese in the Ninny Bow” (based on a riff from Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”), “Cool Cool Mama” and the catchy shuffle “Lost Soul.” He tosses in one acoustic folk-blues offering, summoning up a relaxed, down-home Sonny-Brownie vibe with Billy Boy Arnold on “Those Was the Days.” He overdubs all the instruments himself on the lighthearted “I’m Your Santa” and closes the collection with an upbeat instrumental, “Cougar.” This one marks Campbell as one of the best bluesmen of his generation.