Speaking in Tongues (Alligator)

The Holmes Brothers 

Speaking in Tongues (Alligator)

The Holmes Brothers make gospel that's slinky, sultry and downright greasy, producing the sexiest church songs this side of Prince. On Speaking in Tongues, they hook up with noted philosopher Joan Osborne (she produces and sings back-up) for songs that groove like outtakes from the Family Stone's heyday. Wendell Holmes provides the funky guitar, Sherman Holmes the Staples-esque bass lines and Willie "Popsy" Dixon the sample-ready drum lines and enchanting falsetto. Fans of earlier, more traditional Holmes recordings might flinch at the song selection, which includes three Ben Harper tunes and Bob Dylan's "Man of Peace." But the trio isn't secularizing church music, and neither, for that matter, were Harper or Dylan. The Holmes-es are serious when they sing "Jesus Got His Hooks in Me" and rework "Farther Along" into the most restful, reassuring answer imaginable. There's a risk to taking church music to the masses, but the Holmeses are mighty enough to make it work.

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