Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Holmes Brothers Brotherhood

The Holmes Brothers, Wendell, bassist/songwriter/vocalist, Sherman Holmes and drummer/vocalist and brother-in-spirit Popsy Dixon, have a new Alligator album Brotherhood. It is the 5th for the label and 11th overall since they had their first Rounder album in 1991. Since the days at Dan Lynch’s in New York City, the trio have been spinning a mix of blues, soul and gospel for thirty-five years with an ever increasing fan base.

Brotherhood opens with Wendell’s original Stayed At The Party, a secular gospel number with Wendell’s lyrics very telling about he would not have done some wild things when younger if he knew he would live so long. It bookends the performances on this CD with the Brothers fervent rendition of Amazing Grace that closes this CD. There are many performances to savor including the wonderful harmonies on Ted Hawkins’ I Gave Up All I Had, and the cover of a Earl Hooker recording of Ike Turner’s You Got To Loose, with Glenn Patscha on Wurlitzer piano echoing Big Moose Walker’s piano on Hooker’s late sixties recording. There is a terrific sax solo (from John Ellis) on this and nice use of backing vocals.

The soulful country-tinged lament, Loving You From Afar, is a marvelous duet between Wendell and daughter Felicia. The jaunty shuffle My Word Is My Bond has a terrific vocal from Wendell and nice guitar, while Sherman is featured on Drivin' In The Drivin' Rain, where he wants get back to his woman’s arms. Popsy provides the soulful rendition of William Bell’s My Kind of Girl. There is much more to enjoy about this.

One must acknowledge producers, Glenn Patscha, Chris Bruce, and Hector Castillo who helped produce another excellent blues and roots stew by The Holmes Brothers. Alligator Records, on its web page devoted to the trio, correctly state that “The Holmes Brothers …are true treasures of American roots music.” Brotherhood is yet another treasure by them.

I received my review copy from Alligator Records. Here is a video of The Holmes Brothers in performance.

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