Jimmy "Duck" Holmes | Back to Bentonia

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Back to Bentonia

by Jimmy "Duck" Holmes

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.
Genre: Blues: Acoustic Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. I'd Rather Be The Devil
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
4:30 $0.99
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2. Cool Water
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
3:49 $0.99
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3. Hurry, Hurry, Hurry
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
3:29 $0.99
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4. Count The Days I'm Gone
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
4:13 $0.99
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5. Vicksburg Blues
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
3:17 $0.99
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6. Six Little Puppies
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
3:10 $0.99
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7. Mr. Taxi Driver
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
4:01 $0.99
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8. Duck's Shuffle
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
1:51 $0.99
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9. Hard Times
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
2:49 $0.99
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10. Back to Bentonia
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
5:35 $0.99
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11. Your Buggy Don't Ride Like Mine
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes/Bud Spires
2:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"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.”
- STLBlues.net




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@brokeandhungryrecords.com.

###

REVIEW FROM BLUES & RHYTHM MAGAZINE:


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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Reviews


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Dave Collett

A rare find indeed!
This disc is akin to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone true blue lovers of the Blues. No real afficionado should miss out on this haunting and hallowing disc. Your bones react as much as your ears immediately on the first listen. Most CD players these days have a "repeat button" -- this one makes it possible to wear that thing out.
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Regina

Terrific blues great style
I really like this music. James Owens, Skip James are good. But, Jimmy is keeping that wonderful music alive. You don't have to be a certain age or color to enjoy the blues. His music just gets into your soul.

Thank you Jimmy
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Tormod Uleberg, Norway

Fabulous album from Jimmy. Where has he been all these years. I am a radi-DJ & w
It is astonish to hear such a goldmine of an authentic down home country blues album from a new performer! We, who works with the blues as radio DJ's have to celebrate this
fantastic delivery. Our good & real blue music will never die. Jimmy "Duck" Holmes has given us new hope!!
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Roger Stolle, Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art

Not just a GREAT album but also an IMPORTANT one.
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes and Broke & Hungry Records did this CD right. The album captures an authentic Mississippi juke joint musician at the height of his powers, and it proves that real-deal, country blues ain't dead yet. This is the kind of CD that is a joy to listen to now and will only get better with time. In a world filled with recordings made strictly for commercial purposes (and concerned more with catchy hooks and airplay than with living blues and history), this is a lasting document to a time when blues still ruled the Delta. It also happens to be damn good!
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KM Williams

A Classic!
Man! This is GREAT!!!A classic introduction to a continuing Tradition of The Mississippi Blues of Skip James and especially Jack Owens;but sounds both contemporary and authenic;Much like Robert Belfour's debut.The Record of the year so far in my opinion!!!
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jim hobbs

back to bentonia
If you are like myself, and crave to hear the orgins of the blues, buy this CD. The Bentonian syle guitar pickin, and that whaling vocal is all I need to smile. Thank you Jimmy Duck.
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Przemek Draheim, Polish Blues Radio Host, www.blues.pl/draheim

An album no serious blues fan can miss!
Jimmy Holmes’ album was a revelation as I thought “Bentonia sound” is no longer alive. His blues sounds gentle and dignified. With a deep voice and elegant guitar playing “Back To Bentonia” is an album no serious blues fan can miss.
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Chris Johnson

I love this disc.
I love this disc. I can't wait to hear more from Jimmy and also Broke & Hungry Records.
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Roi Geyari

Fantastic
"Broke & Hungry" owner, Mr Jeff Konkel, did a holy job when he found Jimmy Holmes and recorded him. This album is brilliant, my favorite song is "Six Little Puppies". Jimmy Holmes is one of the best blues artists alive today in my opinion.
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Billy Hutchinson

Contender for Best Traditional Blues recording
JIMMY DUCK HOLMES Back to Bentonia
Broke & Hungry Records, 11 tracks, 39 mins.
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes is being hailed as the living link of the oft touted Bentonia School of singer/guitarists. The idiosyncratic style is widely associated with Nehemiah “Skip” James and Jack Owens. It was Owens’ himself who took to Holmes, and passed the baton of Bentonia by teaching him directly. Is the furore that comes with this release justified? Well it would be a second coming if Holmes was to hold the same reverence as Skip James. He does play in the style & has all the authenticity of an original Bluesman, and resembles David Honeyboy Edwards vocally. 2006 is still relatively young, but Back to Bentonia is already a contender for Best Traditional Blues recording. There is another link to the past with Jack Owens’ musical partner Bud Spires blowing harp on three songs, and he sings a composition of his own too. There are the songs that were passed on to Jimmy to learn the style of Skip James, and Little Brother Montgomery’s Vicksburg Blues that Skip James who was also a pianist met in his early career. There however compositions written by Holmes that use familiar blues stanzas, as he turns the music like that of the Mississippi soil for yet another harvest. All but three tracks were recorded in the Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, the famous juke joint that Jimmy owns, and passed down to him by his parents. Three other tracks were culled from Jimbo Mathus’ retro sounding Delta Recording Studio in Clarksdale, which has Sam Carr’s Mississippi Hill Country beat to it. The Blues of Bentonia hasn’t gone back to Mother Earth just yet…. it has just been unearthed.
Billy Hutchinson.
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