Bob Holmes' Nashville Soul

Bob Holmes' Nashville Soul


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Bob Holmes played a fairly prominent role in the Nashville soul scene of the '60s and '70s. Holmes could do a little bit of everything. He wrote, he arranged, and he produced, talents that are showcased on Ace's 2017 compilation Bob Holmes' Nashville Soul. The 24 tracks compiled here were recorded between 1965 and 1976, with the great majority dating from the back half of the '60s, so it's not a surprise that much of the music shares a sunny, exuberant groove that sometimes seems a little more Northern than Southern in origin. That's part of the pleasure of Bob Holmes' Nashville Soul: at its heart, it's Southern but the fun is what lies in the margins. Holmes' jazz roots surface in the harmonies on the Tydes' "Say Boy," he gussies up Slim Harpo's swamp groove on "Tip on In, Pt. 1," and Little Rock Brotherhood's "Girl Watching on Broadway" is a cooking instrumental that hints at the sound of Philadelphia. All of these skills came into play on his '70s productions and arrangements, which did show a facility with disco, especially on Joe Tex's thumper "Under Your Powerful Love." This diversity -- the compilation touches on a full range of late-'60s and early-'70s soul styles, all leaning toward the smoother side of the scale -- is sly, but it is noteworthy and one of the reasons why this compilation is so enjoyable. Holmes was a consummate soul musician helping to enliven his hometown, and even if his recordings didn't always travel far from Tennessee, they embody the best of the soul side of the Music City.

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