From the opening barnburner "Crazy Over You" to the closing stomp of "Steamhammer Boogie," Jools Holland Meets Rock 'A' Boogie Billy is an album that virtually dares you not to have a party while it's playing. According to the liner notes, this album was "recorded in the back room of Holland's home (which accounts for the authentic sound)," and while one can argue about the authenticity of a boogie woogie record that features multi-tracking and the occasional synthesizer, it's impossible to deny that this album positively swings from start to finish. And while Holland is in impressive form here, dementedly zipping through piano runs like a South London Jerry Lee Lewis and singing in a voice that more than makes up for in showmanship what it lacks in polish, his real secret weapon is Squeeze drummer Gilson Lavis. Throughout this short album, Lavis drums his heart out, matching Holland's intense pace bar for bar, and often pushing him to greater heights. Holland would go on to make records with much bigger budgets than this one, and records that were much more polished, but the ragged-but-right Jools Holland Meets Rock 'A' Boogie Billy is still the homemade marvel that represents modern-day boogie woogie king Jools Holland at his absolute best.
AllMusic Review by Rudyard Kennedy