mon 11/12/2017

CD: Jools & Ruby – Jools Holland and Ruby Turner | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Jools & Ruby – Jools Holland and Ruby Turner

CD: Jools & Ruby – Jools Holland and Ruby Turner

A mixed, and partially recycled bag, but the best songs are screamingly vivid

Jools Holland & Ruby Turner: old but irresistible

Jamaican-born R&B singer Ruby Turner has been part of Jools Holland’s touring band for more than a decade now, her rich and athletic tone a great match for the band’s hectic, muscular rhythms. This is a bumper disc with 22 songs, although unfortunately only four of those are new recordings, so serious fans should check how many they already have before splashing out. There’s a modest festive element, with Jools’s arrangement of Wendy Cope’s “Christmas Song” and a couple of spirituals, such as “Get Away Jordan”, but there are no carols, so it’s something that even the Richard Dawkins in your family will enjoy, and at any time of the year.

No one will fall off their chair with surprise at any of this music, and novelty-seekers, especially those with beards to stroke, should probably move on now. We’re on familiar but fertile territory, anchored in boogie woogie, blues and R&B, with touches of country and gospel. However, it just sounds great: the fact that the performers know each other and the music so well gives them licence to let rip, and the results are some precise, energetic and deeply joyous performances.

Turner’s voice is such a fruity, powerful instrument she can easily compete with a full band, and those songs – “Honey Hush” and “Jumpin’ At The Jubilee”, for example – in which Jools is boogieing, Ruby is hooting, and the band is swinging like a funfair pirate ship are irresistible. Jools’s piano is an important rhythmic addition, and his power balances Turner’s voice, which otherwise could take over. Just occasionally, there’s a lapse of taste: the arrangement on “Christmas Song” is more staid than most, and the plodding brass line can’t help but evoke a Santa’s grotto oompah band in a windswept shopping centre. But the best are screamingly vivid and slick. Shame, then, that more aren’t new, because this formula is cracking.

@matthewwrighter

Those songs in which Jools is boogieing, Ruby is hooting, and the band is swinging like a funfair pirate ship are irresistible

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Average: 3 (1 vote)

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