Jools Holland

Friends 3

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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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 Stream
1 Jools Holland feat: Buddy Guy 03:46 Amazon
2 Jools Holland feat: Terri Walker 03:26 Amazon
Jools Holland feat: Smokey Robinson 04:12 Amazon
4 Jools Holland 02:27 Amazon
5 Jools Holland feat: Solomon Burke / Eric Clapton 04:33 Amazon
6 Jools Holland feat: Shane MacGowan 03:18 Amazon
7 Jools Holland feat: Steve Earle 03:24 Amazon
8 Jools Holland feat: Sam Brown / Nick Cave 04:22 Amazon
9 Jools Holland feat: Paul Rodgers 02:52 Amazon
10 Jools Holland feat: Sugababes 04:01 Amazon
11 Jools Holland feat: Ringo Starr 02:34 Amazon
12 Jools Holland feat: Ruby Turner 04:30 Amazon
13 Jools Holland feat: Prince Buster 03:01 Amazon
14 Jools Holland feat: Eliza Carthy 04:20 Amazon
15 Jools Holland feat: Candy Dulfer / Michael McDonald 04:19 Amazon
16 Jools Holland feat: Kirsty MacColl 04:21 Amazon
17 Jools Holland feat: Peter Gabriel 03:52 Amazon
18 Jools Holland 03:36 Amazon
19 Jools Holland feat: Ron Wood 03:42 Amazon
20 Jools Holland feat: Solomon Burke / Eric Clapton 04:54 Amazon
21 Jools Holland feat: Little Jimmy Scott 03:50 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick