Monday, 31 August 2009

Richard “Groove” Holmes ”Book Of The Blues, Vol. 1”

Richard “Groove” Holmes

Book Of The Blues, Vol. 1
( LP Warner Bros. Records, 1964 )
( Reissue )
Catalog # 1553

See See Rider 3:24
Organ Grinder 2:27
I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water 2:29
Mean Old Frisco Blues 2:45
I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town 3:24
Your Red Wagon 2:37
How Long, How Long Blues 6:13
In the Dark 3:43
Roll ‘Em Pete 5:55

Personnel & Credits:
Nick Venet Director
Lee Hirshberg Engineer
Johnny Mangus Liner Notes
Jim Silke Design, Cover Photo
James Lockert Engineer
Onzy Matthews Arranger, Conductor
Richard “Groove” Holmes Main Performer, Organ

This 1964 date pairs organist Richard “Groove” Holmes with an uncredited studio big band for a set of funky steamers. Onzy Matthews arranged and conducted the band that overdoes it in extremis, making it all sound overly dramatic and cheesy. Holmes, however, was in fine form here and his performance is flawless. Readings of “See See Rider,” “Your Old Wagon,” and “Roll ‘Em Pete,” would have been stellar if the accompaniment had been fitting. This disc is for Holmes completists only.
By Thom Jurek (AMG)


This is a great organ record, with one precaution!

Try to try neglect the other hired studio players doing a day at the office (it’s especially important to try mentally filtering out the session guitarist) and turn a blind ear :-) to the mostly overdone arrangements. And also try filter out the overdone reverb they slapped on the organ.

If you can filter out that and concentrate on just ‘Groove’ Holmes you will find that he is really playing good here!

I have though many times what a classic record this would have been had it been done in a small format, like Jimmy Smith’s trio setting on the record ‘Organ Grinder Swing’.

---Jazz Organ Fan


Richard "Groove" Holmes never attained the same kind of super star status as Hammond legend Jimmy Smith - despite being equally skilled in the keyboard pyrotechnics department. This collection features a grittier, good time approach than Smith's albums for Blue Note and later Verve Records. In the 1970s' Holmes pioneered funk and fusion sounds - often using wah wah pedals and other effects to augment the basic Hammond sound, but here the approach is straight ahead but no less moving.
Recorded around the same time as Jimmy Smiths' first big band recordings, Book of the Blues does very much what it says on tin, as Holmes wanders through the standard mid 60's blues songbook in quartet and big band settings. No matter what the setting, Holmes' soulful organ solos, backed by his own rocksteady pedal bass work, pulse with swing and in-the-pocket timing, surging from understated trills in the upper register to full on intense church style preaching that falls just the right side of overpowering.
The earthy balled "How Long, How Long Blues" showcases this gospel approach magnificently, Holmes' double-handed chord voicings producing some old school but utterly stunning crescendos of sound, juxtaposed by mellow passages as the rhythm section keep the tempo, allowing Holmes to gently groove right around the beat. In stark contrast "Roll Em Pete" is a foot stomping swing number where Holmes gets a chance to display his incredible coordination, asscattershot soloing rides overasteadfast organ bass line- a feat akin to playing two instruments at the same. The unnamed guitarist supplies some fine and fluid soloing as this number roars ahead - it's impossible to remain static under the onslaught until the typically grandiose finale puts a seal on the proceedings.
Groove Holmes remains the jazz organists' organist - and this even this straightahead set hints at the way that organ jazz was to develop over the coming decade; good time, soulful sounds but always with enough 'art' to keep your ears hapilst your foot taps along! --- By Greg Boraman, BBC

By Pier

1 comment:

the rinder said...



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