"Keeping the Blues Alive Award" Achievement for Blues on the Internet Presented by The Blues Foundation
This soul transforming CD is part of Rounder Record's 30th anniversary special 30 album Heritage series collection. It is part of the "essential blues" grouping and that description fits this spirit-renewing disc to a tee. Here are 74 minutes of the very best of their four previously released Rounder Records albums. The songlist includes 7 originals amongst 17 tracks. Their electric, salvation blues combines soul, funk and gospel with lyrics that feature a vocal prowess. Sherman Holmes, Wendell Holmes and Willie "Popsy" Dixon have been more commonly known as the Holmes Brothers since 1980. Sherman's bass lays the foundation while Popsy's drums complete the rhythm. Wendell handles electric/acoustic guitars and organ. Both siblings play piano and all 3 members tackle lead vocals. Popsy's soaring falsetto voice is most featured as lead vocal and is a sharp contrast to Wendell's surly and coarse vocals.
"Got Myself Together" has as much grit as a factory shop floor. The funky rhythm is augmented by superb guitar and pounding drums which could support the weight of several tons. "Promised Land" is a rockin' celebration set to a catchy beat. The Brothers' redemptive voices are in the spotlight on "I Surrender All". This song is living proof that blues comes from the spiritual. Experience it on this magnificent song which is sung with conviction. "Don't Spare Your Sword" contains everything that first attracted me to the blues. Here, the music carries far more emotion than words. Oddly enough this drug addiction song features the disc's most touching lyrics. A few surprises are thrown in to show the group's roots music diversity. Alison Krauss' fiddles ensure a country flavour on "There Goes My Everything" while Popsy delivers "And I Love Her" with a gentle touch.
A few guest musicians help listeners embrace a greater musical presence. On, "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby", the gaps are filled by Ron Levy's B3 and Anders Gaardmand's tenor sax. Gib Wharton adds pedal steel guitar on "Fannie Mae". Anders and Gib join electric blues forces on "Dashboard Bar". The Hell's Kitchen Horns are a brazen on "I've Been A Loser". They sound so soulful you will wonder if they really are from NYC or Memphis!
Christian Clayton's cover illustration recreates the cover photo from the band's debut album. The liner notes included with an accompanying multi-page booklet were written by Andy Breslau. He co-produced this brilliant compilation and produced the original releases. The Holmeses will move your feet and challenge your mind. Their music contains intense lead vocals, supreme musicianship and richly-textured vocal harmonies. Highly recommended for anyone remotely interested in blues/roots music, this CD is a stirring, spiritual experience you won't forget. Definitely one of the best releases of 2002. The Holmes Brothers are nuthin' but the righteous!
For CDs, booking and information, contact: Rounder Records www.rounder.com
Artist website: www.concertedefforts.com
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