Jools Holland

Friends 3

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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 Stream
feat: Buddy Guy
03:46 Amazon
feat: Terri Walker
03:26 Amazon
04:12 Amazon
4 02:27 Amazon
5 04:33 Amazon
6 03:18 Amazon
feat: Steve Earle
03:24 Amazon
8 04:22 Amazon
feat: Paul Rodgers
02:52 Amazon
feat: Sugababes
04:01 Amazon
feat: Ringo Starr
02:34 Amazon
feat: Ruby Turner
04:30 Amazon
13 03:01 Amazon
feat: Eliza Carthy
04:20 Amazon
15 04:19 Amazon
16 04:21 Amazon
17 03:52 Amazon
18 03:36 Amazon
feat: Ron Wood
03:42 Amazon
20 04:54 Amazon
21 03:50 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick