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Eldridge Holmes

New Orleans soul singer Eldridge Holmes was born in Violet, Louisiana in 1942 -- according to an article on the Funky 16 Corners website, circa 1962 he began collaborating with producer Allen Toussaint, making his debut on Toussaint and Joe Banashak's Alon label with the single "Poor Me." The energetic "Begging for Your Love" soon followed, and with 1963's "I've Got to Keep on Trying," Holmes veered into country-soul territory. None of his Alon efforts generated any commercial interest, however, and after two more singles for the label, "Popcorn Pop Pop" and "Emperor Jones," Holmes left the label to hone a smoother, more urbane soul sound that would blossom on 1964's "Gone Gone Gone," the first of two Toussaint co-writes that he recorded for the Washington, D.C.-based Jet Set label. After the follow-up "Humpback" failed to ignite a new dance craze as hoped, Holmes signed with another of Toussaint's labels, Sansu, to release 1965's "Without a Word," his most elegant outing to date; conversely, his second Sansu side, "Beverly," was his funkiest side yet, but despite the elasticity of his vocal and songwriting prowess, Holmes remained little known even in the Crescent City until his next single, 1967's "Where Is Love," issued on Toussaint's Deesu imprint. A major local favorite, the record was licensed for national distribution on Decca but went nowhere, nor did the follow-up, a cover of Lee Dorsey's "Working in a Coal Mine." Decca dropped Holmes soon after, and in 1969 he resurfaced on Deesu with "The Book," a blistering funk effort featuring the instrumental backing of the Meters; a sublime reading of Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter" appeared soon after, and with "Lovely Woman," a nod to the sweet soul of his Jet Set output, Holmes left Deesu for good. He next turned up on Atco with 1970s "Pop Popcorn Children," recorded with the Meters during their Look-Ka Py Py sessions; it was his lone effort for the label, and in 1972 Holmes reunited with Toussaint for the Wardell Quezergue-arranged "Love Affair," the first-ever release on the fledgling Brown Sugar label, and the singer's final recording. He went on to work as a bus driver, nursing assistant, and mechanic prior to his death from heart disease in 1998. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: What It Is! Funky Soul And Rare Grooves (1967-1977)

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4

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