Carl Holmes – 1970 – Investigation No.1

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A funky holy grail, one of the rarest of the rare, and the only album ever cut by funky guitarist Carl Holmes! Carl’s work on the guitar is incredible fast riffing and jazzy, with a style that’s dirtier and messier than some of his 70s jazz funk contemporaries, but which also lays back on a few tracks so that Carl can deliver a sweetly soulful vocal. The album’s a real blend of styles, all handled pretty darn well  from the hard funk of “Black Bag” and “Investigation“, to the Latin jamming of “Modesa“, the fast grooving of “Get Down Philly Town“, and the mellow soul of “Think It Over” and “Your Game“. Great stuff  and a real treat to finally have reissued.

This is a super rare soul/funk record where Carl tries to close “the gap between R&B, jazz and psychedelic rock by the creation of a sound that is funky, mellow, intricately soulful and explosive, yet uniquely disciplined in its complexity!

This is a @320 vinyl rip of the reissue CRS records LP, including covers.

A1.Investigation 4.05
A2.Close To You 5.07
A3.Black Bag 3.20
A4.Think Is Over 3.25
B1.Modesa 4.59
B2.Your Game 4.16
B3.Get Down Philly Town 2.59
B4.It Ain’t Wright 3.07

Review by Groovy Emmanuel

Well, well, well.. It’s time now for some to the dirtier side of funkiness grooves of the early seventies, painted with some to the mellower side soul touches of the same era. And it’s a fine little record from one of the less familiar names around, Philly guitarist and vocalist Carl “Sherlock” Holmes.

Carl started gigging in the early sixties forming Carl Holmes and The Commanders with whom he recorded a full length album for Atlantic in 1962 entitled «Twist Party At The Roundtable», and a couple of 45’s for Parkway and Verve later on. They even gigged with one Jimi Hendrix in 1966 but alas never recorded. After a final 45 for the local Philly label Black Jack, the group disbanded and Carl formed the Sherlock Holmes Investigation a solid outfit backed by a strong rhythm section packed with congas, vibes, flute, organ and sax. Philly’s Sigma Sound Studio was the place they recorded their sole album and Custis R. Staten’s CRS Records was the label that released it. And here we are.

Smokin funk breaks in «Black Bag», «Investigation», «Get Down Philly Town», «It Ain’t Right» and some syncopated latin-inspired jams in «Modesa» all coming out of the legendary Philly studio?… Yeah, why not? Music is One, or isn’t it? Ouch. All these coupled nicely by some fine mellow numbers in «Close To You», «Think It Over» and «Your Game» . ouch again! And all but one (Bacarach/David’s «Close To You») written by a guy named Len Woods. A remarkable blend of styles, no doubt!

Finally there’s a little confusion on when this little record was released. Is it late sixties, early seventies or mid seventies? Having that in mind, just listen to «Your Game». and focus on the break midway to the end, 2:55 to 3:14 of total 4:12 minutes the song lasts. Well, I thought I saw a pussycat, as Tweetie the cartoon used to say. Is it Marvin‘s  «What’s Going On?» .? Did this little record come out before or after Marvin’s record? Ouch once more. But nevertheless, pay no attention at all, cause music is still the best no matter when or where or whatever, as long it is good. And last but not least, who the heck is Len Woods? The guy is a hell of a songwriter. Is he Carl himself or someone else? A final ouch to the end.

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Conversation for album: Carl Holmes – 1970 – Investigation No.1

  • Lafayette
    Posted at 15:21h, 03 March 2009 Reply

    Wicked & Wonderful! Nikos & Groovy Em…need I say more! :¬)


  • NewBell
    Posted at 15:49h, 03 March 2009 Reply

    this blog gets better post after post. A M A Z I N G

  • Lafayette
    Posted at 15:59h, 03 March 2009 Reply

    And, oh yeah, forgot to leave a comment on the year of this albums release…I actually think it was released in 1974. Which unfortunately kinda sinks Emmanuels cool ideas on Marvin borrowing some vocal licks for his “What’s Going On” from 1970. Please note that the album is just as good, even if it was released in 1974! :¬)


  • nikos1109
    Posted at 20:46h, 03 March 2009 Reply

    Laf, the year of release still remains a mystery. All Music Guide mention 1970. Discogs and Dusty Groove 1974. Those who have sold a copy (Popsike) do not mention the year of release cause i am sure that the original copies do not mention it. Till now i find no catalogue of Curtis R. Staten’s C.R.S. label.

    Anyway a great record! Thank you Groovy Emmanuel for sending me your vinyl copy.

  • rich
    Posted at 22:03h, 03 March 2009 Reply

    thanx nikos for this awesome post

  • invisiblenigma
    Posted at 05:05h, 04 March 2009 Reply

    Wow! I can’t wait to hear this one!! Much thanks!

  • Bobby Fever
    Posted at 06:11h, 04 March 2009 Reply

    hey nikos! just wanted to say THANKS for all you do man! This blog is my education. Thanks for ruling!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 06:28h, 04 March 2009 Reply

    black dog..wooooooooooo a classic…thanks for that good post..and nice review..thanks dude jean paris

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 06:36h, 04 March 2009 Reply

    oooops bag…jean

  • Andre
    Posted at 08:07h, 04 March 2009 Reply

    man this one is a real gem. thanks and keep up the great work!

  • Groovy Emmanuel
    Posted at 09:49h, 04 March 2009 Reply

    Music is just a wheel spinning eternally. Everything is music, even “light is just a vibration of a note too, everything is” (FZ said that…). Music is still the best, how true. And top of that, a way for people to share thoughts and communicate. For that individual record, cover, layout and music contained say perhaps it’s late sixties early seventies, some reviews say it’s 1974. But who needs to care actually, as long as music is rocking us eternally… Thank you Laf, Nikos and all for responding.

  • Ronald
    Posted at 10:26h, 04 March 2009 Reply

    Wow! A masterpiece! Thank you Groovy Emmanuel and Nikos.

  • Lafayette
    Posted at 11:40h, 04 March 2009 Reply

    Totally agree with that, Em! :¬)

  • fred
    Posted at 20:33h, 04 March 2009 Reply

    A precious record! Blew my mind!

  • E-mile
    Posted at 22:54h, 04 March 2009 Reply

    ExXxcellent! thank you for this find, nikos. Black Bag is awesome…
    peace, E-mile

  • Mark
    Posted at 00:54h, 05 March 2009 Reply

    Thanks nick. Top notch find as always!

  • Joseph Reed
    Posted at 02:12h, 05 March 2009 Reply


    Your blog is the best. You have saved the soul of this poor white guy living in Wisconsin.

  • Markus
    Posted at 05:38h, 05 March 2009 Reply

    I have Black Bag from a comp CD called Breakdown! that I bought way back when I first got into this stuff, and it’s become one of my favorites. Thanks so much for digging this up and giving me the opportunity to hear the whole album!

  • Vincent the Soul Chef
    Posted at 07:18h, 05 March 2009 Reply

    Thanks for another amazing share. Investigation is one brutal track! You’re the best 🙂

    Peace and blessings.

  • Kenny
    Posted at 10:54h, 05 March 2009 Reply

    Thanks for this one, nikos and for all the awesome work you do!

  • Astral Pro
    Posted at 14:57h, 05 March 2009 Reply

    Sounds good!

  • Antonio
    Posted at 15:31h, 05 March 2009 Reply

    A must have.

  • Red Dragon
    Posted at 22:53h, 05 March 2009 Reply

    I’d never thought I’d see this one…Thanks a lot man!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 04:51h, 06 March 2009 Reply

    thanks for posting

  • whoknows
    Posted at 06:12h, 06 March 2009 Reply

    another gem I probably would never hear if it weren’t for you Nikos! much thanks for this FUNKY ASS record, i started bobbin and dancin from the youtube video of ‘investigation’!!! can’t wait to hear the rest, thanks again!!!

  • Gea
    Posted at 09:50h, 06 March 2009 Reply

    You always come through! Thanks for all the hard work.

  • David
    Posted at 13:20h, 06 March 2009 Reply

    Absolutely amazing album. Thank you Emmanuel and nikos

  • Fin
    Posted at 14:18h, 08 March 2009 Reply

    oh what a treasure – thanks a lot for sharing!!!!

  • Jan
    Posted at 15:11h, 09 March 2009 Reply

    One of the best records posted lately. Greetings from Hungary.

  • phatrapper
    Posted at 01:22h, 10 March 2009 Reply

    Thanks for sharing this one with us Nikos!

  • phatrapper
    Posted at 01:23h, 10 March 2009 Reply

    Thanks for sharing this one with us all Nikos!!

  • sergio
    Posted at 16:47h, 16 March 2009 Reply

    ¿Have you noticed the extreme similarities between “Investigation” and Lou Donaldson’s “Everything I Do Will Be Funky (From Now On)”… sound like a blatant ripoff to me… (Lou’ song is from 1969)
    Anyway, great discovery, thanks!

  • jose a.
    Posted at 21:08h, 18 March 2009 Reply

    great, big groove, another treasure for my soul!!

  • cinturon negro
    Posted at 21:32h, 26 March 2009 Reply

    thank you i didnt know him
    great posts mannnnn

  • johnv
    Posted at 05:46h, 29 March 2009 Reply

    Wonderful post–thanks!

  • Geewiz
    Posted at 03:07h, 12 July 2009 Reply

    Thanks for the gem!!!

  • lilly
    Posted at 11:48h, 17 June 2010 Reply


  • pedro
    Posted at 08:44h, 12 May 2019 Reply

    Thanks for this one nice solid sound from the lead track sound similar to other sounds but i don’t like comparing we could do that all day

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