Home Read Classic Album Review: Jools Holland | Big Band Rhythm & Blues

Classic Album Review: Jools Holland | Big Band Rhythm & Blues

The Squeeze pianist recruits a slate of VIP guests for this solid (in unspectacular) LP.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Talk about being dead lucky. Two decades into his solo career, former Squeeze pianist Jools Holland is suddenly an overnight sensation with one of the hottest discs around — chiefly because Big Band Rhythm & Blues contains what is purported to be George Harrison’s final recording.

The song is called Horse to the Water, and while it’s undoubtedly done wonders for Holland’s profile, it’s may not do as much for George. Oh, it’s a nice enough track, what with the lightly funky R&B groove, Holland’s rollicking piano and George’s nasal, Dylanesque vocals and spiritual lyrics. But if it’s a Great Last Musical Statement you’re after, Horse might not be it. Heck, it might not even be the best track on this 22-cut album, on which Holland backs a roster of U.K. VIPs on a set dominated by blues and R&B standards. Among the highlights: Sting delivers a gospel-brunch cover of Seventh Son, Paul Weller revs up Will it Go Round in Circles, Steve Winwood belts out a horny I’m Ready, and Stereophonics put an energetic spin on Revolution. All in all, a solid (if unspectacular) set that deserves some attention — but probably not as much as it’s going to get.

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