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on 19 November 2002
Having now got Holland's entire back catalogue, you can imagine my anticpation waiting for the brown cardboard box from Amazon waiting to drop through my letterbox. No disappointment whatsoever.
This CD is certainly better than Small World Big Band 1 and is more upbeat, containing tracks such as Tuxedo Junction from the Bells Whisky advert, to Huey from the Fun Lovin' Criminals covering Fly Me To The Moon. The fact that Revolution (with Stereophonics, who again feature excellently on this CD) on Small World Big Band 1 has been voted in some circles says it all.
For a guy that grew up in the 90s, I would also say there are more contemporaries and well-knowns than on the last CD: Huey, Tom Jones, Bono, Bryan Ferry, Stereophonics to name but a few. This also leads me to think that Tom Jones could do a full album with Jools.
The music is also more appealing to the 'mainstream' compared with other CDs such as Sunset Over London and A-Z of Piano where you really have to like instrumentals and R&B style tunes.
Hope there is a volume 3. Many thanks Jools, can't wait 'til your concert in December...
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on 16 October 2017
all good
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on 19 August 2017
Super
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on 24 February 2015
very good
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on 22 November 2002
I'm a bit of a Jools virgin - my first album was Small World, Big Band, vol 1 closely followed by Greatest Hits. They've never been out the CD player in the car over the last year. It was with trepidation (and excitement) that I ordered "More Friends" -after all - could it be as addictive?
There's the good old Jools blues piano in Tuxedo Junction and Anglegrinder Blues, but there are also some surprises, especially Bono and his Velvet Dress.I've not had the album long, but everytime I listen to it, you come across more gems such as Snowflake Boogie and Your's truly Confused N10. There's a real blend of artistes and - well it works for me!
The Orchestra "and Friends" ensemble is fantastic but Jools has to be careful that he doesn't place overreliance on them and overdo the formula - after all he is a supreme musician and entertainer in his own right and he mustn't lose his own identity. There are one or two tracks where you forget momentarily that you are listening to a Jools album, but in the next moment he's right back there giving it his all!!
It is a testament to Jools reputation in the music world that so many artistes want to work with him and you get the feeling that everyone is enjoying the ultimate jam session.
I think it'll spend the next year in the car.....!!
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VINE VOICEon 24 November 2002
Jools Holland must have one of the most enviable 'phone books in the music business. Having mingled with the great and the good of pop music (in the broadest sense of the term) on "Later" for many years, this album was bound to be an eclectic affair and carries on where "Small World, Big Band" Volume 1 left off. One might harbour suspicions that this is a mutual congratulation society for musos, but relax, the mood is one of mutual support, not congratulation. Jools' own big band/rhythm and blues leanings anchor the sound and give the album coherence. This is complemented by the diversity of the guest artists on each track, who give of themselves willingly to lend the whole affair an uplifting, party atmosphere.
Inevitably there are some weak spots. I may be one of the few people to find Kelly Jones' strangled cat vocals as enjoyable as listening to someone scraping their fingernails down a blackboard, but there are plenty of high points, for example Ray Davies (who was criminally omitted from the "Party at the Palace" CD) delivering a finely balanced performance combining the poignancy and quizzical humour that made The Kinks so special. Norah Jones, a rising jazz star,is poised and soulful whilst Guy Barker, a leading jazz trumpeter, demonstrates his remarkable dexterity on that expressive instrument. Damon Gough's (aka Badly Drawn Boy) contribution is pleasingly quirky and Robert Plant lets it all hang out as only he can. This album may not break any new ground musically but it may well bring a smile to your face with its sense of camaraderie and the sheer enjoyment of making music. I do have some bad news, however: the car on the cover (a beautiful old Humber Hawk if I'm not mistaken) is not included as a free gift with the CD.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 March 2017
What I love about Jools Holland's music programme for the BBC is how varied his guests are, some are contemporary and of the day, whereas others are often legends from yesteryear in terms of their chart history, but are still out there making great music. This album continues the same formula as the TV show, and the lineup of talent here is truly fascinating, and truly electric. I bought ''More Friends'', the second in a set of the three albums, primarily for the Marianne Faithfull track but, as predicted, I found lots more to fixate on.

From jazzy toe-tappers, to lush soft-rock ballads, 'More Friends' is a very playable collection from mates in high places, with first-rate performances from Jools' own Rhythm & Blues Orchestra backing up these great artists. Marianne's version of Bob Dylan's 'You Gotta Serve Somebody' is really excellent, and a very poignant song for her. This lady is a master of interpreting over people's songs and making them her own. Today, her even more cracked voice is different again from the one we hear on this album, released in 2002.

Other personal favourites of myself include the soulful opener, 'Together We Are Strong' by Sam Moore and Sam Brown, Edwin Starr's stirring 'Snowflake Boogie', the Stereophonics' outstanding version of 'First Time Ever I Saw Your Face', an original track, 'Yours Truly, Confused N10' by Ray Davis, and 'The Can Is Open', which is probably one of my favourite things that Badly Drawn Boy has ever done.

This really is an album for music lovers all over, and provides a wonderful listening experience. If you enjoy Jools' work, or just like any of these singers, then you'll win either way if you purchase 'More Friends'. The CD's booklet contains lots of photographs of Jools and his guests.
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on 7 January 2004
A truely superb listen, that gets better every time I hear it. With Jools' wonderful band backing this top notch line-up, I can't possibly see how this could be bettered. Edwin Star grooves magically, Bryan Ferry smooches, The Blind Boys Of Alabama simply have fun. There's too many great moments to mention in one review, Badly Drawn Boy's 'The Can Is Open' finds the Manc-hero in cracking form, while Jools and band's own version of the classic 'Tuxedo Junction' finally brings to CD the buzz of their live performances. 'Yours sincerely, confused N10' written by and starring Ray Davies is truely superb; true, his voice doesn't hit the mark sometimes, but we don't expect him to, thats not what he does - he's not a singer, he's a social commentator, and more to the point - he's the best social commentator we have as well, and its a joy to have him back! Ending with the highly dramatic, seedy, emotionally charged but brilliant 'Velvet Dress' courtesy of U2's Bono, this album is one of the most enjoyable pieces of music currently available. Of the three 'Small World Big Band' albums this is by far the strongest; whilst the first CD very much feels like a series of collaborations, and the more recent third album is oddly lacking in guests, this one really hits the mark. Superb!
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VINE VOICEon 2 December 2002
Following on from the success of the first volume, this is even better. Jools has collected together another selection of "Friends" and backed them with his superb Orchestra. This time out he is joined by Tom Jones, Ray Davies, Robert Plant, Jeff Beck and Bono, to name but a few.
Robert Plant returns to his Honeydrippers persona with 'Let the Boogie Woogie Roll' true 50's rock'n'roll sound. Jools and his orchestra include their own version of 'Tuxedo Junction' a new take on this Big Band standard instrumental. Jeff Beck's track is also an instrumental showing again what a great guitarist he is.
If you like good music, played well; then this is for you.
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on 19 January 2008
I was really looking forward to this CD as Jools is capable of some amazing performances and the tracks here are all winners. Unfortunately, I have to agree with another reviewer here - the sound quality is very poor to the point of being almost unlistenable on a decent system. The music is very compressed and as such it's just a bland wall of sound; all the emotion that was put into the live performances has been lost. This disc is another unfortunate casualty of the loudness war.
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