For the first time on Alligator Records The Holmes Brothers have produced an outstanding release. Under the careful eye of producer Joan Osbourne this intensely spiritual recording showcases their seemingly effortless ability to wed timeless houserocking music to contemporary inspirational and religious themes. The album features four new originals from Wendall and Sherman Holmes and new renditions of songs from Bob Dylan, Ben Harper and Gamble & Huff as well as several gospel staples.The Holmes Brothers' uplifting voices ride a rollocking rhythm section to the heavens.
Record of the week - "A fine, fine gospel record...their rhythms take over your body, while their voices go straight for your heart." -- Mark Edwards, Sunday Times
The Holmes Brothers have been regular UK visitors, whipping up equal enthusiasm for both their gritty R&B and their gospel music. For Speaking In Tongues
, their first album for Alligator, they've jettisoned the R&B to concentrate on the gospel and come up with one of their best albums to date. Not that the R&B is very far away as the guys still draw on their usual raw and driving energy to quite blistering effect as on "Jesus Is The Way", "Thank You Jesus", and the title track. They tone it down for "King Jesus Will Roll All My Burdens Away", "Love Train" and for two of the three Ben Harper songs "I Shall Not Walk Alone" and "I Want To Be Ready". Apart from Harper the Holmes Brothers draw on material from Bob Dylan and Sister Rosetta Tharpe as well as their own songs and a couple of traditional pieces. Female backing chorus is provided by The Precious Three (which includes producer Joan Osborne). A few tracks feature guest instrumentation but, by and large, it's Wendell Holmes vocals, guitar, piano, Sherman Holmes vocals, bass and Willie "Popsy" Dixon vocals, drums, percussion who are doing the business and "speaking in tongues".
© fRoots Magazine all rights reserved -- fRoots, June 2001