Jools Holland

Friends 3

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

It's the third go-round for Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, and by now their formula is familiar -- Holland and his large band, anchored by his former Squeeze bandmate Gilson Lavis, invite a bunch of musicians to sing or play in front of them, and they run through a bunch of cheerful blues and old-time rock & roll-based songs. Some of these are covers and some of these are new tunes, but they all feel like revivals, since Holland and guests play them that way. These are classy, well-performed amalgams of big-band R&B and soul, spiced with hints of ska, mainstream pop, and rockabilly, which offer welcome changes of pace. As expected with any album that features over 20 guest spots, it's a bit of a hit-and-miss affair, but since the best moments -- such as Steve Earle's loose-limbed "Play It Sam" -- don't soar all that high and the lowest moments -- apart from "Just to Be Home With You," where Shane MacGowan is a drunken fish out of water -- don't tumble that low, it all evens out into a pleasant listening experience. That said, it's not a particularly distinctive one, either, since none of the guests are at their best and the band is primarily in a support slot, never really having a chance to shine. Nevertheless, anybody who enjoyed the first two Friends efforts will likely enjoy it -- and they'll also find the 21-track, 80-minute running time to be generous, while others might find it to be way too much of an OK thing.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Buddy Guy
3:46
2
feat: Terri Walker
3:26
3
4:12
4 2:27
5 4:33
6 3:18
7
feat: Steve Earle
3:24
8 4:22
9
feat: Paul Rodgers
2:52
10
feat: Sugababes
4:01
11
feat: Ringo Starr
2:34
12
feat: Ruby Turner
4:30
13 3:01
14
feat: Eliza Carthy
4:20
15 4:19
16 4:21
17 3:52
18 3:36
19
feat: Ron Wood
3:42
20 4:54
21 3:50
blue highlight denotes track pick