Bob Holmes

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The keyboardist and arranger Bob Holmes, whose name sometimes appears on credits with a missing "e," is part of the generation of West Coast session players who cut their teeth, or more aptly, polished…
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The keyboardist and arranger Bob Holmes, whose name sometimes appears on credits with a missing "e," is part of the generation of West Coast session players who cut their teeth, or more aptly, polished their musical surfboards, on the rock style known as surf music. While it is often said that the hidden ambition of every session man from this period was to become one of the Beach Boys, the closest Holmes came was membership in Ronny and the Daytonas, on record anyway. That's an important distinction to make, because although records by this group include plenty of examples of his keyboard hi-jinx, Holmes was never a part of the touring ensembles that were eventually glued together to promote the recordings. In other words, someone else had to be found to reproduce the insane organ hook on "'32 Studebaker Dictator Coupe," while Holmes stayed at home in the studios.

The keyboardist aspired toward the significantly more rewarding area of creating arrangements for horns and strings, doing yeoman work on a series of J.J. Cale albums that, unfortunately, rubbed fans of the low-key guitarist the wrong way. Reviews from the period so often suggest that the arrangements represent a mistreatment of Cale's music that it wouldn't have been at all surprising if Holmes had vamoosed to a hideout in the hills. He bravely continued working with artists such as Paul Kelly and Ruby Winters