Album Review: Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra Rocking Horse

By Graham Reid

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 Rocking Horse  album cover. Photo / Supplied
Rocking Horse album cover. Photo / Supplied

Rating: 4/5
Verdict: Big names, big emotions, big sound and a big deal.

The celebrity-guest collections and R&B Orchestra discs from Jools Holland have often been tasty but a few were not entirely successful. This sometimes breathless rush of boogie-woogie piano, big brass and handclap gospel-blues comes off a winner from the opener, a thumping and exciting duet with New Orleans piano legend Allen Toussaint and Holland playing organ.

Then Ruby Turner - a Holland staple - steps up for the bluesy good time Roll Out of This Hole, and roars back later for a gutsy Holland original Remember Me, a thrilling, horn-driven version of Sister Rosetta Tharpe's This Train which increases in tempo and intensity, and takes us out with the always lovely You Are So Beautiful which Joe Cocker made famous.

Before then however Rosie Mae gets her mojo working over the tight and tough band, Michael McDonald (usually at home on vapid faux-soul) steps up a terrific treatment of I Got News For You and Chas and Dave come in for Holland's co-write with his old Squeeze compadre Chris Difford on a paean to London ("a country meadow is fine to see, but these grey streets belong to me").

Booker T drops by for Ellington's Blues for New Orleans. And there's more.

The band get space to blow, Holland hammers the old joanna, and this will save you time in housework. Consider the cobwebs blown.

- TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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