Jools Holland / José Feliciano

As You See Me Now

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At first glance, Jools Holland and José Feliciano don't seem like an ideal match. Jools kept the boogie-woogie torch burning in the U.K., while Feliciano crossed over in the U.S. thanks to his blend of folk, flamenco, and easy listening. Look a little closer, and it's easy to see that the two share common ground in the middle of the road. Feliciano specialized in smooth, vaguely soulful MOR pop, Holland carved out a niche as an amiable TV host, so they both know how to please a crowd, and As You See Me Now is indeed a crowd-pleaser. Containing a bit of soul, a bit of folk, some jump blues and Beatles, plus a new ska version of "Feliz Navidad," As You See Me Now covers a lot of musical territory, but it feels cohesive because both Holland and Feliciano know not to push any particular sound too hard. Consequently, the record feels loose but measured, an album designed to do nothing more than entertain, and it does a good job at that.

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