Richard “Groove” Holmes: A Bowl Of Soul

This reissue adds tracks from Book Of The Blues to produce an agreeable hour of bluesy, soulful, toe-tapping music


The first seven tracks of this disc constitute the complete original vinyl album of A Bowl Of Soul released in 1966 – some of the remaining tracks appearing on Book Of The Blues Vol. 1 from two years earlier. If anybody is wondering, the proposed Vol. 2 never materialised.

As the titles of the two albums imply, this is indeed a bowl full of the kind of bluesy, soulful ingredients that found particular popularity in the 1960s. Many keyboard players turned to the Hammond organ, with Holmes being one of its most satisfying and feted exponents.

Here we have the organist mirroring the Jimmy Smith recordings which encapsulated both small-group and big-band recordings, the former being okay, the latter being suitably exciting in part. Holmes may not have been as technically impressive as Smith but certainly he knew how to please his followers.

From the opening bars of the quartet’s Bowl Of Soul, a slow blues, to the larger ensemble’s Your Red Wagon we are treated to some toe-tapping music that makes an hour pass by pretty agreeably. The organist performs some neatly constructed solos matched by guitarist Ray Crawford and the arrangements by Ozzy Matthews are tailored to showcase the Holmes talent.

This is one organ fanciers can safely buy.

(1) A Bowl Of Soul; Night Train; R. F. K. Flies Home; (2) In The Dark; I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town; (1) How Long, How Long Blues; Roll ’Em Pete; (2) Blues For Big Fred; Please Send Me Someone To Love; Tobacco Road; See See Rider; (1) Organ Grinder; I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water; Mean Old Frisco Blues; (2) Your Red Wagon (60.04)
(1) Holmes (org); Ray Crawford (g); Jim Crutcher (b); Chiz Harris (d). Los Angeles, July 1964.
(2) as (1) but add Ozzy Matthews (cond, arr); Bud Brisbois, Bobby Bryant, Melvin Moore, John Anderson, Bob Rolfe (t); Dave Wells (btb, tb); Lou Blackburn, Pete Myers, Dick Leith (tb); Gabe Baltazar (as); Clifford Scott (as, ts); Curtis Amy, Alex Nelson (ts); Jay Migliori (bar).
Fingerpoppin’ Records 117020