HOLMES BROTHERS "SPEAKING IN TONGUES" REVIEWED IN CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Sunday, February 11, 2001
"This venerable trio birthed an East Coast scene out of which younger artists such as Blues Traveler and Joan Osborne sprang, but the Holmes Brothers remain the undisputed masters of blues-based American roots music on their sixth release, "Speaking In Tongues." The Brothers suggest that gospel is the original rock 'n' roll, that the blues is a heartbeat removed from soul music and that the funk will not only set you free, it'll take you straight to heaven. Each band member - brothers Wendell and Sherman Holmes, drummer Popsy Dixon - is a distinctive lead vocalist, and their command of these idioms is never dryly academic.
This is a joyous, foot-stomping carnival that blurs the boundaries between the secular and the sacred, with gospel rousers standing side by side with testifying originals and stirring remakes of tunes by Ben Harper, Bob Dylan and the O'Jays. Osborne, enlisted to produce, lets the brothers play to their strengths rather than trying to "modernize" them, and she amplifies their wall-rattling fervor by contributing gospel style backing vocals. Mercy me, it's the first great album of 2001."