Home Read Classic Album Review: The Holmes Brothers | Speaking in Tongues

Classic Album Review: The Holmes Brothers | Speaking in Tongues

The senior soul stiffers bring self-assured savvy to every groove of their sixth album.

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


No, The Holmes Brothers aren’t the latest teen-pop sensation. In fact, these senior soul stirrers are the very antithesis of — and an antidote to — the endless stream of bubblegum bands.

Guitarist Wendell Holmes, his bassist brother Sherman and drummer Popsy Dixon have been together more than two decades, although I bet they have more than a century of playing between them. That’s judging by their greying noggins and weathered faces — and by the self-assured savvy they bring to every groove of this addictive sixth album. On the 13-track Speaking in Tongues, jiving fatback beats, downhome chicken-scratch guitar licks and funky basslines are the foundation for soulful gospel harmonies and lyrics of praise, creating a wonderous musical hybrid that can rock the juke joint on Saturday night and stir up the congregation on Sunday morning. And any band that can turn Bob Dylan’s Man of Peace into a smoking booty-shaker is in my good books. Amen to that, brother.