Speaking In Tongues
A unique roots record that captures their effortless ability to wed houserocking music to inspirational themes.Produced by Joan Osborne.“Inspired, warm and soulful.One listen and you’ll adopt this family as your own.” -ROLLING STONE
Wendell Holmes vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano
Sherman Holmes vocals, bass
Willie “Popsy” Dixon vocals, drums, percussion
The Precious Three backing vocals:
Joan Osborne, Catherine Russell & Maydie Miles
Rob Arthur organ, piano, rhythm loops
Andy Breslau harmonica on “Homeless Child”
Paul Kahn electric guitar on “Jesus Got His Hooks In Me”
Catherine Russell mandolin on “Jesus Got His Hooks In Me”
Maydie Miles tambourine on “Jesus Is The Way”
Produced by Joan Osborne
Engineered and Mixed by Trina Shoemaker
Assistant Engineer: Rob Gil
Executive Producer: Paul Kahn for Concerted Efforts, Inc.
Recorded and Mixed at Long View Farm Studios, North Brookfield, MA, Spring 2000
Mastering and Editing by Jonathan Wyner with Bruce Iglauer, Paul Kahn, and Catherine Russell at MWorks, Cambridge, MA
Photos of The Holmes Brothers by Stefan Falke
Photo of The Precious Three by Chris Colbourn
Packaging Design by Kevin Niemiec
Logistics and Accounting: Dan Peraino
Wendell Holmes sings lead vocal on “Homeless Child,” “King Jesus Will Roll All Burdens Away,” “Jesus Is The Way,” “Man Of Peace,” “Jesus Got His Hooks In Me,” “Thank You Jesus” and “Farther Along”
Sherman Holmes sings lead vocal on “Speaking In Tongues,” “New Jerusalem” and “I Want To Be Ready”
Popsy Dixon sings lead vocal on “I Shall Not Walk Alone,” “Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down” and “Love Train”
The Precious Three contribute backing vocals on all tracks except “Jesus Got His Hooks In Me,” and minus Maydie Miles on “I Shall Not Walk Alone” and “Thank You Jesus”
Thanks to: Bruce Iglauer and Alligator’s genuine houserockin’ staff; Holger Peterson and the folks at Stony Plain; Richard Flohill; Bonnie Milner and the entire Long View crew; Emily C. Hay; Michael R. Hafitz, Esq.; Evan Krauss; Mark C. Weiner, P.C.; Concerted Efforts staffers Mike Leahy, Chris Colbourn, Josh Stoltzfus, Chhaya Kapadia, Pamela Perkins, Dan Peraino, Jesse Kahn; and Ron Blomberg for the 1949 National/Gibson acoustic guitar.
Special Thanks to Andy Breslau for invaluable assistance throughout
Booking and Management: Concerted Efforts, Inc., tel 617-969-0810, www.concertedefforts.com
Dedicated to the loving memory of Sherman Holmes, Sr.
I was walking down Second Avenue in New York City on a frigid Saturday night, on my way to a party. At the corner of 14th Street a couple came out of a bar; as they opened the door a raw, beautiful noise spilled out behind them onto the sidewalk. The windows of the place were completely fogged up, so I pulled on the door; as it opened a wall of warm, wet air enveloped me.
As my eyes adjusted to the darkness I saw a scene out of some fantasy Mississippi roadhouse. The room was solidly packed with bodies. The ceiling dripped with condensation, smoke hung in the low red light, a huge bouncer passed a tip bucket crammed with sweaty bills. Coke dealers and pool sharks and Deadhead college kids and suits and Polish barmaids were all, every one, dancing with abandon. Behind a slender bar rail, a three-piece band was working a sound that was greasy, sexy and slyly ferocious. Wendell on guitar grimacing ecstatically, Sherman on bass scowling with intensity, Popsie on drums looking like he wasn’t even trying; all three of them singing in a gritty, joyful roar — they rode the song to its finish and seemed to synchronize the heartbeat of everyone in the room.
I did not make my party that night. I stayed and The Holmes Brothers played, until four in the morning, whipping the people into a frenzy of dancing one minute and bringing the house down with a wrenching blues the next. They played soul, R&B, gospel, covered The Beatles and Hank Williams, rocked me and everybody in the place to our foundations. I have seen The Holmes Brothers many times since then, had the pleasure and privilege to sing with them and get to know them, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget what a revelation they were to me that first night.
When I became a part of the roots music scene in New York’s downtown clubs, The Holmes Brothers were a constant source of inspiration and amazement. The other musicians on the scene respected them enormously and made regular appearances at their gigs to get an education — to try to get some of that deep funk to rub off on them. I first met the men at a jam session at that same Second Avenue bar and I was shy, intimidated by their talent. But they were generous and encouraging, making me an honorary “Holmes Sister” and treating me like family. I soon learned that their heat onstage is a direct byproduct of their incredible warmth offstage. They are intelligent, funny, and if you’re not careful they will charm the pants off of you.
Fast forward ten or so years. The Holmes Brothers, among the first bands on the scene to get a recording contract, have made six albums, toured the world, recorded with the likes of Van Morrison, and served as cultural ambassadors to Africa under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. Their groove is so deep that techno producers have sampled them to create dance floor tracks (what a great image – club kids out of their heads and raving to the beat of Popsy, Sherman, and Wendell). When I got the call to produce this album, I was honored and I jumped at the chance. As these tracks prove, The Holmes Brothers have lost none of their fire; if anything, their playing and singing have gained a deeper dimension of soul and grace. Working with them was by far the most fun I’ve ever had in the studio, and many times during the sessions I found myself feeling like a student again, marveling at the ability of these three men to create their raw, beautiful noise.
Wendell, Sherman, Popsy - I am very grateful to you all for the chance to be a part of it.
— Joan Osborne
The Holmes Brothers Fan Club
Arzola Whetstone & Barbara Curtis
Baychester Station, P.O. Box 1029
Bronx, NY 10469