Jools Holland and his big band had a run of incredibly impressive albums- the 'and friends' series, 'swinging the blues', and the excellent collaboration with Tom Jones. Then came the very disappointing 'Moving out to the country', and last year's greatest hits compilation, and I started to fear that Jools and the gang had started to lose their way and run out of ideas (though live they were still as good as ever). Then along comes this album, blowing away any doubts. They're back, they're on form, they're having a blast. This album does what Jools and co. do best - delivers a set of swinging tunes, designed to get you up and dancing. If you're not even tapping your feet to the music by the end of the last track you need urgent medical help!
The album contains a well selected set of covers and originals, played with decided vim and vigour by the band. Vocals are shared between Jools, the superb Ruby Turner, and Rico Rodriguez (on the standout ska track L-O-V-E). The band are on fiery form, meshing together superbly and delivering a wall of sound that's totally irresistable. The best bit though is that every one sounds like they are really enjoying themselves. This is music as it should be, none of your Miles Davis serious experimentalism here, just a bunch of friends having a load of fun and sharing the joy.
And that's just the first disc! Included in this release is a second album called 'Consider The Source', a selection of recordings taken from live concerts in Cathedrals. The emphasis here is on Gospel, with Ruby Turner really coming into her own. The set is fantastic, and really is how church ought to be! There'd be a lot more people there on a Sunday morning if we had hymns sung like this!
All in all an excellent, swinging album, which marks a return to form for a terrific group of fun loving musicians. Highly recommended to fans of swing, blues, ska, gospel, or just music lovers in general. This really is the next best thing to seeing them live.