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MP3 Jimmy "Duck" Holmes - Back to Bentonia

WINNER OF THREE LIVING BLUES AWARDS INCLUDING BEST DEBUT AND BEST TRADITIONAL CD OF THE YEAR. A mesmerizing deep country blues CD in the grand tradition of the late Skip James and Jack Owens. Hailed as a "traditional blues masterpiece" by critics.

11 MP3 Songs
BLUES: Acoustic Blues, BLUES: Country Blues

"Drawing from the same well as the late great Jack Owens, Bentonia’s Jimmy ''Duck'' Holmes evokes the dry, hostly sounds of his mentor. But after conjuring Jack’s spirit, Holmes develops his own personality ­ ethereal, stark and emotional. I’ve never been to Bentonia, but whatever’s in the water there, whatever’s haunting the grounds at night, whatever gave the place its historical power, clearly lives on in these recordings."
- Robert Gordon, Author of It Came From Memphis and Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters

"2006 is still relatively young, but Back to Bentonia is already a contender for Best Traditional Blues recording."
- Billy Hutchison, BluesMatters! Magazine

"Downhome and Delta blues fans are in for a treat - this is the real deal. A magnificent debut set from Holmes and Broke & Hungry Records."
- Blues & Rhythm Magazine

"Duck is in full flow, playing strongly and confidently. For the most part it’s just Duck and his guitar weaving complex whirls of notes around his eerie, haunting, brooding vocals."
- Redlick Records

"Listening to this set, it is hard to believe that Holmes has remained hidden for so long. He is a huge talent and Back To Bentonia can only be described as a traditional blues masterpiece that obviously comes highly recommended."
- Blues in Britain

"Back Bentonia is a gorgeous and mesmerizing downhome blues record that evokes the music of an era one thought was long past. A great debut and an auspicious start for Broke & Hungry Records.”
- Bad Dog Blues

“Much like a worn-out, favorite pair of blue jeans that you feel most comfortable in, maybe sitting on the front porch watching life slowly pass by, Back to Bentonia takes us to a simpler time of gut wrenching heavy soul and Delta blues.”
- https://www.tradebit.com

This spring, Broke & Hungry Records, a St. Louis-based independent record label dedicated to recording and releasing authentic country blues, launches with a bang. The label’s inaugural release, Back to Bentonia by Jimmy “Duck” Holmes will undoubtedly be hailed as one of the finest traditional blues albums in recent memory. Back to Bentonia represents the debut CD for the 58-year-old Holmes.

Among serious fans of country blues, the very name Bentonia conjures up images of hard times and cypress groves, black cats and the ever-lurking devil. It was in this southern Mississippi town that Skip James and Jack Owens lived and played, giving rise to the term Bentonia Blues, a haunting, forlorn style of blues known the world over. When Owens died in 1997, most assumed that the Bentonia Blues died with him.

They were wrong.

In the 1970s, Owens became determined to pass the tradition forward and he enlisted a younger aspiring guitarist for the project. His disciple, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes was no stranger to the blues. He was the owner of the Blue Front Cafe, a now-famous juke joint that had been opened by his parents in 1948. And he was already a talented guitarist in his own right.

But under Owens’ tutelage, Holmes became a master of country blues. He learned to play and sing songs from the celebrated canon of James and Owens, songs like, “I’d Rather Be the Devil,” “Hard Times” and “Cherry Ball.” But he also developed his own songwriting voice, and when he coupled those songs with the Bentonia stylings of his predecessors, the effect was mesmerizing.

Yet for some reason, Holmes has remained virtually unknown in the blues world. Other than a handful of unreleased or obscure recordings, Holmes and his remarkable talent have been little more than a rumor to most blues fans.

Until now.

Recorded during two sessions in November 2005, this remarkable CD features Holmes in stunning form, both vocally and instrumentally. Like so many classic blues recordings, Back to Bentonia is dominated by tales of scornful and treacherous women, but Holmes’ lyrical nuances and haunting delivery come together to create a listening experience that is wholly his own.

The lion’s share of these tracks stem from an all-acoustic session recorded at that Blue Front Cafe on an unseasonably warm November evening. Several tracks from this session feature the legendary Bud Spires playing harp. For decades, Spires was Jack Owens’ musical partner and foil. His presence on this album only adds to its historical importance. On the album’s final track, Spires even takes a rare turn at the microphone on the rollicking “Your Buggy Don’t Ride Like Mine.”

The remaining tracks on Back to Bentonia stem from a brief recording session held at Jimbo Mathus’ Delta Recording Studio in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Equally raw and stripped down as the Blue Front tracks, these recordings nevertheless stand in stark contrast to those from the earlier session. Here the guitarist plays in a raucous amplified form to the accompaniment of the great Sam Carr on drums.

Back to Bentonia promises to be one of the most talked about blues releases of 2006 and one of the finest traditional blues albums in recent memory.

For more information on this exciting release, contact Jeff Konkel of Broke & Hungry Records by e-mail at jeff@https://www.tradebit.com.



CD of the MONTH:
JIMMY ''DUCK'' HOLMES: Back To Bentonia
Broke & Hungry Records BH13001 (38:57)

So who said downhome blues was dead? Despite the passing of guys like R.L. Burnside, there are still a few artists who keep the genre alive and thankfully have been drawn to the attention of a much wider audience outside of their locality via new CD releases. Chief among these recently was Big George Brock, whose ''Club Caravan'' made such a big noise last year.

Now there is another name to add to the list of the ''keepers of the flame'' – Jimmy ''Duck'' Holmes. Holmes debuts the new St. Louis based Broke & Hungry label with a superb set.

Holmes, aged 58, hails from Bentonia , Mississippi. He was the owner of Bentonia''s Blue Front Café a juke joint owned by his parents since 1948. No stranger to the blues, Jimmy learned much from Jack Owens. During the 1970s, determined to pass on his own unique Bentonia blues styling and that of Skip James, Jack taught Jimmy all he could. However the results remained hidden – until now.

The eleven sides here were cut in two sessions late last year. Eight acoustic sides were laid down at the Blue Front Café, ''on an unseasonably warm November evening'', while the remaining three were cut at Jimbo Mathus''s Delta Recording Studio in Clarksdale. These feature Jimmy playing electric guitar, supported by Sam Carr on drums. The results of both sessions are nothing short of mesmeric.

Owens taught Holmes well and he conjures up the haunting, almost disturbing styling that made Skip James a much loved blues artist. Both the acoustic and electric sides are stripped down to the bone blues, the like of which many thought would be lost forever with the death of Jack Owens in 1997.

Tracks like Owens'' ''Devil'', ''Hard Times'', ''Cool Water'', ''Taxi Driver'' and the inevitable ''Six Little Puppies'', as well as Little Brother Montgomery''s ''Vicksburg Blues'' could have been cut sitting on the porch of the Blue Front Café, Bentonia, on a sultry evening five decades ago. Holmes has got it off to a T. And Jack Owens'' old sparring partner Bud Spires lends a hand on harmonica on a number of tracks and takes the vocal on ''Buggy''.

Watch out for a forthcoming feature on Jimmy in these pages soon, as well as further releases on the label from Delta artists Wesley Jefferson and Terry ''Big T'' Williams.

For the time being downhome and Delta blues fans are in for a treat – this is the real deal. A magnificent debut set from Holmes and Broke & Hungry Records.

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