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Jimmy ”Duck” Holmes: Blue Front Breakdown!

16 June 2008

It took 35 years for another indie blues label to match the instant success Alligator  Records enjoyed with their inaugural release: ”Hound Dog Taylor & The Houserockers” appeared in 1971, and Broke & Hungry Records put themselves on the map with Jimmy ”Duck” Holmes’ ”Back To Bentonia” in 2006.

And just like the late Hound still is for Alligator, the Duck seems to be fast becoming the main asset and superior sales argument for Broke & Hungry.
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I must admit that when I first put on Jimmy Holmes’ second CD ”Done Got Tired of Tryin’” and pushed ’play’, I was half afraid it would not be quite as incredible as his first disc, or would be just ”more of the same” – the liner notes do reveal that four of the 10 tracks date back to the 2005 ”Back To Bentonia” sessions.

Well, worry not: the Duck delivers with passion and style, and
Jeff Konkel & Co have done a fantastic job in putting together a CD that breaks new ground while still sounding characteristically Bentonian. This really is the blues today – not often does one hear a voice as authentic as the Duck’s sing a line as contemporary as ”way back in 2001”...!

Centering around the funky electric instrumental ”Blue Front Breakdown!” that features the positively 21st-centurish
Lightnin’ Malcolm on drums, the mood of this disc is somewhat lighter – ”less brooding and more grinning” would be one way to describe it. Jimmy Holmes is in top shape and clearly enjoying himself, the legendary Jack Owens sidekick Bud Spires makes another appearance on ”Catfish Blues”, and the whole affair has once again been captured live at Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, Mississippi which Duck’s parents opened in 1948 and he has been running since 1970.

Need I say more? If you like good, authentic blues with a feeling, you’ll like this album a lot. If you enjoy Bentonia blues as embodied by
Skip James and Holmes’ mentor Jack Owens, your collection won’t be complete without it. And if you dig the raw blues stuff Fat Possum used to put out, you still might want to try this on for size.


Jimmy ”Duck” Holmes: ”Done Got Tired Of Tryin’”. Broke & Hungry Records, 2007

Jimmy ”Duck” Holmes (guitar, vocals), Lightnin’ Malcolm (drums), Bud Spires (harmonica).

Producer: Jeff Konkel

Links: Broke & Hungry Records
website and MySpace, Jeff Konkel interview