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CD Review: Holmes Brothers

State of Grace


Label: Alligator

The Deal: Blues, county, soul, rock and zydeco go to church.

The Good: A new musical category needs to be created for the Holmes Brothers. Spiritual blues comes close, but you need to factor in folk, country and soul as well. You can't really call it gospel because most of the subject matter is secular, but the sound is always heavenly. Brothers Sherman and Wendell and Popsy Dixon have church wherever they go. The celestial blending of their voices with Roseanne Cash's on Hank Williams' "I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You" will give you goosebumps. In their hands, Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me" sounds like a hymn. But just because the Holmes' sound is churchy doesn't mean it's stodgy. These guys raise hell, or at least pass through it, touring the nether regions in flammable drawers on "Gasoline Drawers" to get to their baby love. They do some hard traveling, Zydeco style, on CCR's "Bad Moon Rising."

The Bad: It's a shame that more people don't know about these guys. It's a marketing problem. They're labeled as bluesmen, but they're much more than that. They're gospel singers, soul men, rockers, country crooners, taking whatever's out there and reshaping it into something unique and magnificent.

The Verdict: Get it and put it where you can find it easily cause you're gonna want to wear it out. And if you don't have their back catalogue, get busy -- you've got lots of catching up to do.

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