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greybeard
Posted: Saturday, January 10, 2015 6:49:19 PM

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WILLIE "POPSY" DIXON, DRUMMER AND VOCALIST OF ACCLAIMED SOUL/BLUES BAND THE HOLMES BROTHERS, 1942 - 2015



Willie "Popsy" Dixon, drummer and vocalist of the critically acclaimed soul/blues band The Holmes Brothers, died in Richmond, Virginia on Friday, January 9. He had recently been diagnosed with stage four bladder cancer. He was 72 years old.



Dixon, born in Virginia Beach, Virginia on July 26, 1942, was celebrated for his soaring, soulful multi-octave vocals and his driving, in-the-pocket drumming. He first met brothers Sherman and Wendell Holmes at a New York gig in 1967. Dixon sat in with the brothers and sang two songs. "After that second song," recalls Wendell, "Popsy was a brother." They played in a variety of Top 40 bar bands until 1979, when the three officially joined forces and formed The Holmes Brothers, which The New York Times described as "deeply soulful, uplifting and timeless." They toured the world, releasing 12 albums starting with 1990's In The Spirit on Rounder. Their most recent release is 2014's Brotherhood on Alligator.



Dixon first played the drums when he was seven. He told Blues On Stage, "My mom and dad took me to the store and told me to get anything I liked. There was this tiny red drum set, with a tiny little kick drum and snare...little cymbals. Now, that's what I wanted! By the next morning, the thing was in the trash can. I beat it all to death. But, I tell you what...I knew how to play after that. I just knew. I had the rhythm down pat and had timing too. Just that fast. I been playing ever since."



The Chicago Tribune described Dixon's voice as "otherworldly...a gift to the world of music." Living Blues said, "Popsy’s voice is a wonder...spontaneous and raw."




In September 2014, The Holmes Brothers were honored with a National Endowment For The Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor the United States bestows upon its folk and traditional artists.



Dixon is survived by daughter Desiree Berry and longtime partner Isobel Prideaux.



Funeral service information is pending. Interment will be at the Holmes' family plot in Saluda, Virginia.


Heading out for the East Coast / Lord knows I've paid some dues gettin' through, / Tangled up in blues.
repete
Posted: Saturday, January 10, 2015 10:25:31 PM
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That's very sad news. I saw the the Holmes Brothers at the Corner Hotel, and again at jazzfest in 2007. Really really soulful. RIP.

Hangin' out on Frenchmen
garyp1603
Posted: Monday, January 12, 2015 6:32:41 PM

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Damn shame. Great band. They have a definitive version of What's So Funny About Peace Love & Understanding.

Gonna play it tonight as a tribute to victims of the Paris Siege.

"I'd welcome the stars with wine and guitars, full of fire and forgetful" Townes Van Zandt
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