Speaking in Tongues

Speaking in Tongues

by The Holmes BrothersThe Holmes Brothers


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Pop singer Joan Osborne moves into the producer's seat for the Holmes Brothers' latest, and the studio marriage sounds as if it was a blessed event. This Alligator Records debut for the Brothers is born-again blues, shouting, wailing and rocking but never without faith in the music from which they arose. Osborne smartly chose three of contemporary singer/songwriter Ben Harper's most moving tunes to set the CD in the present. Wendell Holmes cries from the wilderness of the disenfranchised on "Homeless Child," while Holmes' bassist Popsy Dixon's vocals are those of a tarnished angel on "I Shall Not Walk Alone." Sherman Holmes steps up the mic for a funereal reading of "I Want to Be Ready," one of the most spiritual tunes in Harper's songbook. None of the covers are far away from Harper's own readings, but the Brothers have age and experience him and quite naturally take the music to another level. The Holmes Brothers have always mixed gospel and blues so their own songs are also organic to the setting. Sherman penned the rockin' title cut, and the imagery of secular love as holy makes it as au current as BeBe or CeCe Wynans' tunes. His "New Jerusalem" and Wendell's bluegrass romp "Jesus Got His Hooks in Me" are toe-tappers, while the cover of Dylan's "Man of Peace" is dark and swampy. Of the traditional tunes that round out the album, Rosetta Tharpe's "Cant No Grave Hold My Body Down" is the most captivating with its funky guitar licks. Other than her role as producer Osborne is also present as one of three back-up singers who give the album a fuller, churchy sound. But her star presence only enhances what the Holmes Brothers have been doing for decades. Perhaps her work with them will also bring a wider audience to the Brothers: Speaking in Toungues is proof that they deserve to be heard beyond both the blues and gospel arenas. Roberta Penn

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Product Details

Release Date: 01/30/2001
Label: Alligator Records
UPC: 0014551487722
catalogNumber: 4877
Rank: 96902


  1. Homeless Child
  2. Speaking in Tongue
  3. New Jerusalem
  4. I Shall Not Walk Alone
  5. Can't No Grave Hold My Body Down
  6. King Jesus Will Roll All Burdens Away
  7. Jesus Is the Way
  8. Love Train
  9. Man Of Peace
  10. Jesus Got His Hook in Me
  11. I Want to Be Ready
  12. Thank You Jesus
  13. Farther Along

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Holmes Brothers   Primary Artist
Rob Arthur   Organ,Piano
Andy Breslau   Harmonica
Popsy Dixon   Percussion,Drums,Vocals
Sherman Holmes   Bass,Vocals
Wendell Holmes   Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Catherine Russell   Mandolin,Vocals,Background Vocals
Joan Osborne   Vocals,Background Vocals
Paul Kahn   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Maydie Myles   Tambourine,Vocals,Background Vocals
Precious Three   Vocals

Technical Credits

Elvis Presley   Composer
Rob Arthur   Rhythm Loops
Wendell Holmes   Composer
Kenneth S. Morris   Composer
Sister Rosetta Tharpe   Composer
Joan Osborne   Producer
Paul Kahn   Executive Producer
Trina Shoemaker   Engineer
Public Domain   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Z. R. McEachen   Composer

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