Review: The Holmes Brothers – Brotherhood

Posted on: Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014

The Holmes Brothers – Brotherhood

(Alligator Records)

The Holmes Brothers have been delighting their fans for 35 years and this, their latest album, confirms that they have lost none of their sparkle. The trio comprises Wendell (guitar and vocals) and Sherman (bass and vocals) Holmes and brother-in-spirit Popsy Dixon (drums and vocals). They are joined on the album by a plethora of guest musicians including Chris Bruce on guitar, Glenn Patscha on keyboards, John Ellis on tenor sax and Antoine Drye on trumpet. The fourteen tracks contain eight original compositions and six cover versions.

“Stayed At The Party” provides a lively opening to the album, followed by a fine version of Ted Hawkins’s “I Gave Up All I Had”, with an acoustic guitar and keyboard accompaniment. “Passing Through” is a rocking soul number, complete with some nifty guitar work, which leads seamlessly into Ike Turner’s upbeat rocker, “You’ve Got To Lose”. “Lickety Spit” then wallows in a swampy atmosphere in advance of a splendid rendition of Geraint Watkins’s “Soldier Of Love”.

The steady rocking “Gone For Good” makes way for the gospel-fuelled ballad, “Loving You From Afar”, with Wendell’s daughter, Felicia, on lead vocals. Another upbeat rocker, “My Word Is My Bond” delivers a tasty helping of piano tinkling and a fine guitar solo before “”Drivin’ In The Drivin’ Rain” introduces a slower, heavier beat. Further contrast is provided by a delightfully smooth airing of the William Bell/Booker T Jones Sam Cooke-style ballad, “My Kind Of Girl”.

The superb collection is concluded with two more originals, the slow shuffle, “Darkest Hour”, and the medium-paced rocker, “Last Man Standing”, and a vibrant, heartfelt performance of “Amazing Grace”. All aspects of the album are top quality – the compositions, lead vocals, harmonies and musicianship – and the deep enjoyment experienced by The Holmes Brothers in delivering the goods is clear for all to witness and share. Great stuff.

Alligator Records

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