Review: Jools Holland and His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Portsmouth Guildhall

Jools Holland. Picture: Jodie Mason

Jools Holland. Picture: Jodie Mason

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Has Jools Holland got the best job in the world?

If not, he must be mighty close to claiming that enviable position.

Because the enjoyment shown by his audience as he made a welcome return to Portsmouth last night came not only from his mesmerising performance but from the sheer exuberance he exuded in delivering his rip-roaring music.

From the early moment in which he let fly into Leadbell’y Midnight Special, we knew we were going to have as much fun as him.

(Heavens, even an off-beat offering of When the Saints Go Marching In earned our instant forgiveness - well, almost!)

Backed by his 15-strong Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, he necessarily spent a considerable time on his Hootenany-style introductions of each of the talented musicians.

And then of course he needed to welcome onto the stage his special guests. Louise Marshall and Beth Rowley each delivered gutsy vocals before Jools called up the ‘royalty’ that is Ruby Turner.

Boy oh boy, what a foot-stompin’ delivery of Peace in the Valley she delivered!

By then the audience had long since been up and dancing, and so it continued into the round of encores, the highlight of which was Pauline Black and Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson of The Selecter returning to the stage for Enjoy Yourself.

Enjoy ourselves we did, Jools - just as much as you. Don’t give up the night job!

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