Music Player
 
October 20th: Jools on Radio 2
Jools is joined tonight at 11.00pm by Olivia Harrison for a rare interview about her life with husband George, the former Beatle who died in 2001. For further details, click here.

October 17th: Later... Longer... Tonight
This week's longer edition of Later... with Jools Holland on BBC Two – with Sinead O'Connor, Rumer, and Labrinth – will be broadcast tonight at 11.35pm.

October 16th: Autumn/Winter Tour
Jools is taking the greatest boogie-woogie party around the UK once again, with his annual Autumn/Winter Tour kicking off tonight in Killarney.

Soul sensation Joss Stone, British icon Marc Almond, plus singer/songwriter and vocalist extraordinaire Rumer, will be joining Jools and his much loved Rhythm & Blues Orchestra on selected dates.

Joss Stone will be joining Jools and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra for the first time for a total of nine dates, making for a very exciting addition to the line-up. Joss rocketed onto the UK music scene at the age of 16 with her debut album The Soul Sessions. The two-time BRIT Award winner has had numerous hits with Super Duper Love and You Had Me, and has performed with the likes of Mick Jagger, James Brown, Gladys Knight, Solomon Burke, Blondie, Smokey Robinson, and Melissa Etheridge, among many others.

Marc Almond will be making a special appearance at 27 dates of the tour. In addition to numerous hits during his time in Soft Cell, including Tainted Love, Say Hello, Wave Goodbye, Marc has become an international acclaimed solo artist with chart-topping success around the world. His brand new 4-track EP, featuring a plethora of excellent 'friends' – including Jarvis Cocker (Pulp), Carl Barat (The Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things), and producers Tris Penna and Tony Visconti – was released on Monday 10th February.

Rumer will also step on the boogie-woogie stage and will be joining Marc Almond as a special guest on the final six dates of the forthcoming tour. Rumer is an Anglo-Pakistani singer/songwriter whose debut album Seasons Of My Soul has sold over a million copies worldwide, seen her nominated for two BRIT Awards, and secured the much-coveted Mojo Award for Breakthrough Act. A year later she released Boys Don't Cry, which debuted at Number 3. Its success took Rumer everywhere, from Buckingham Palace to the White House, and brought her together with Jools and the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra for the collaboration Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive, which was featured on Jools' 2012 album The Golden Age Of Song. Rumer is currently recording her second album of original material.

With the vocal power of Ruby Turner, the Soul tones of Louise Marshall, and the tireless drums of original Squeeze member Gilson Lavis, along with the inimitable musicianship of the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Jools Holland will perform tracks spanning his entire solo career.

Visit the Tour page for more details.

October 10th: New 2015 European Dates Announced
Prior to returning with the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra to Holland and Belgium in March, Jools Holland will be embarking on a short European club tour which will see him perform a vocally centric, stripped down set. He will be accompanied by vocalists Ruby Turner, Louise Marshall, and Mabel Ray. For details, click here.

October 8th: BBC Music Launch
BBC Music has launched with a star-studded video, featuring 27 top musicians, including Jools Holland, performing the Beach Boys track God Only Knows.


Television, radio and online united across the BBC, for the very first time, showing the video at 8.00pm last night, Tuesday 7th October.

The launch of God Only Knows marks a significant moment for the BBC – an extraordinary performance featuring 27 of the most iconic and acclaimed music artists in the world, brought together by the BBC to form 'The Impossible Orchestra'.

The recording will be sold to raise funds for Children in Need.

The new BBC Music brand will support and champion the best music and musicians across the BBC, bringing the very best music to audiences across Radio, Television, and Online.

June 2nd: In Tune on BBC Radio 3
Jools Holland joined Sean Rafferty on In Tune for some live music at the studio piano and an interview.

May 30th: Jools on the Paul O'Grady Show
Jools Holland joined will.i.am and Carrie Fisher on Paul O'Grady's couch for the last show in the series this evening. The audience were also treated to an entertaining performance of Hard Hearted Hannah, courtesy of Jools, Paul, and Chris Storr (trumpet player extraordinaire in Jools' Rhythm & Blues Orchestra).

May 24th: Jazz Legends in Their Own Words
Jools Holland contributed to this journey into the BBC archives, which unearthed performances and candid interviews from the golden age of jazz. It featured some of the greatest names in American music, from Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie to Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald.

May 2nd: Jools Holland Plumbs the Depths of Spotify
Jools Holland is the contributor to a new column on Spotify: Jools Holland Plumbs The Depths. This is accompanied by a playlist of tracks chosen by Jools himself to illustrate the various routes that link or lead to the music in his life, whether played live with his band, during his BBC Radio 2 show or the TV show Later... with Jools Holland.

March 12th: Prince's Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards
The Prince's Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards honour the achievements of disadvantaged young people supported by The Trust who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community.

This year's ceremony took place in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales at the Odeon Leicester Square, London, and was hosted by Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly.

Joan Collins OBE takes a selfie with celebrity ambassadors.

Jools, an active supporter of the Prince's Trust, announced the Samsung Young Achiever of the Year Award alongside Sir Ben Kingsley, presented to Carly Williams by HRH Prince Charles.

For more information and details on the incredible young people recognised and awarded on the day, please go to www.princes-trust.org.uk/celebrate.

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Each week musician, TV and radio presenter Jools Holland and Spotify rifle through the music he's enjoyed in his TV show Later... and his Radio 2 show – as well the music he plays with his own band. We then place those tracks into an ever-expanding playlist that celebrates a century of sensational sounds. "Let's plumb the depths," Jools insists, "and pleasure ourselves".
 

Friday 17th October 2014

This week we've been in Ireland – it's been hammering with rain. I brought my big raincoat with me and on the way over everyone laughed. Well, they're not laughing now. We had a great crowd in Killarney, we did a version of Down The Road Apiece, but now it gets spooky. Afterwards a man called Ted Carroll who owned Chiswick Records came and had a drink with us. I had no idea he'd been in the crowd, but Ted was the first person to ever pay me in cash – £17 – for a session playing on Down The Road Apiece by The Count Bishops in 1977. We'd never played it before – but that's a bit odd, isn't it. Freddie Slack also does a marvellous version. I'll choose that to go into the playlist this week.

On Later... this week we had Sinead O'Connor – she's always great, always so inventive – she was wonderfully dressed as a vicar this time. Labrinth came to see the show when he was about 12 to see his brother who's a drummer, so that was quite sweet. I noticed that as a pianist he uses his middle finger in the incorrect way – a concert pianist would be horrified – but me and the boogiers play like that, so he has the boogie finger.

Rumer sounded so glamorous it was amazing – it was like being in a 1960's whirlwind of dimmer switches and Aston Martins. Then there was Ibeyi – just brilliant. They're the twin daughters of the late Cuban percussionist Anga Diaz, and they were spectacular, they have that extreme blood harmony thing going on which is stunning to hear. This was their first TV appearance ever, so that was very exciting.

We had Adam Cohen, the great Rival Sons and Holly Johnson too. When Holly's old band Frankie Goes To Hollywood burst onto the scene with their wonderful Rome-before-it-fell image it was all on The Tube, of course. It's so good to see him – I was very pleased to have him there.

On the Radio 2 show this week I've got Olivia Harrison, she is the embodiment of charm, modesty, humility and knowledge. There's a box set of George Harrison's work coming on Apple – and that label is great story in itself, so ahead of its time, as was George. He was making experimental electronic music, bringing Indian music to the western world, he was having huge success with his own music, he was feeding the world. He was so ahead of the game – and producing other artists too. He was very close to Billy Preston; it was George who got Billy to come in at the end of The Beatles and make everyone more polite to each other. I made 'Horse To Water' with George near to the end of his life and he was such a joy to work with.

So we're getting the tour properly underway now and it's Dublin next. We always have a good time in Dublin – we have a very favourite pub, a very old-fashioned, proper pub, that's encased all the chrome beer pumps in a wooden box. And they lock us in – I'm quite looking forward to that...

Friday 10th October 2014

This afternoon I'm going into the studio with Louise Marshall. She'll be finishing her vocal on 'A Vow' – written by Wendy Cope, who wrote the words to that wonderful love poem, 'On Waterloo Bridge'. We're finishing the record right now, so I'm packing my handkerchiefs and ironing my socks – I like to travel light. I'm playing with the Orchestra in Ireland next week – Kilarney and Dublin – then we'll be touring around the UK.

On Later... this week we had Manic Street Preachers and they were just great. They had the German actress and singer Nina Hoss with them and they brought an excellent European flavour. I've known a lot of musicians who are involved in the visual arts and the outside of the Manics, Nicky Wire does amazing landscape pieces with Polaroids which he paints. He's like David Hockney, only very much his own thing. Nicky gave me one of his artworks before the show and that made me very happy.

Robert Randolph is the greatest pedal-steel player on earth – all the Spotifiers should check him out. He can actually make his instrument speak, a remarkable talent. He's a great instrumentalist – he plays in a unique way too, in R&B rather than country. I thought Benjamin Booker had a brilliant energy about him – it made me very happy. What he plays is not strictly boogie-woogie, but it has elements of that world and I loved it. He inspired me to go back to two old records, Moon Mullican, a Western Swing figure from the 40s and 50s who sang 'Seven Days to Rock' and Howlin' Wolf's 'Howlin' Wolf Boogie'. Whenever I hear Howlin' Wolf's voice it makes me happy and I think that might be true for any red-blooded Spotify follower.

Ben Howard was very good, Gary Kemp and Steve Norman from Spandau were great, as was Melanie De Biasio. Jessie Ware was brilliant – she, rather like the Manics, just gets better and better. I love it when people do that – but if someone comes and and they've got worse I'll hush it up.

Over on the Radio 2 show I had Ali Campbell and he talks a lot about his childhood and the early days of the reggae scene in the Midlands – that was such a big deal at the time. Ali, of course, comes from a very musical family and he talks a lot about that very interestingly. We did 'Kingston Town' together and that was lovely as we both really enjoy that era of Jamaican music. UB40 led a whole group of artists and bands in making a UK version of Jamaican music, just like Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart did with the blues before them...

See you next week.

Friday 3rd October 2014

So, it's been a fantastically busy week again. Nice to see Ali Campbell as he was recently on on my radio show too – anyone who wants to find out more about him can tune into that. It's really interesting what his musical infleunces are – his father was the folk singer Ian Campbell – and what effect Birmingham had him as he was growing up. Have a listen to my Radio 2 show for that.

Elsewhere on the show Future Islands' singer Samuel did some truly amazing dancing. Now, Spotify is fantastic for listening to all sorts of music, but you'll need to tune into Later... to get the full glory of this. It's really quite something, but I'll leave it up to the viewers to make their minds up about the whole thing.

Jamie T was on too and he was great – I also wanted to draw attention to his drummer, Victoria Smith, who used to play with The Big Pink, she was very, very good indeed. As were Gorgon City – I loved their singers.

I have to mention another guest, Beverley Knight, who's in a new musical called Memphis that's opening in London soon. She was superb, we played at the piano together. She had wanted to do 'Up Above My Ahead' – originally done by Sister Rosetta Tharpe back in 1949 – and I found this version by Rod Stewart and Long John Baldry. On the cover Rod looks about 12 – but he's excellent on this. That's a classic Spotify find, I never knew they'd done that song. I once wrote a song with Beverley called 'Where In The World' and I’d recommend that too – it got lost along the way a little, but I rather like that song. Now, I know we talked about Mary J. Blige last week, but I wanted to mention that the Sam Smith song we did together impressed me so much that I actually rang Sam in LA to congratulate him on such a wonderful composition.

On the radio show this week we had Liz Fraser who worked on the Carry Ons, Tony Hancock and Up The Junction. She is the first person I've ever met in my life who performs with a singing dog. Nobody does that anymore, but she trained the dog herself. Very impressive. Dawn French is on next week and she's very, very entertaining. She told me she'd always wanted to be an opera singer and she also talks about the first song she ever snogged to. I'd love to know what the Spotify people first snogged to – do let me know. I just hope it's a happy memory for both of you...

See you next week!

Saturday 13th September 2014

My usual drummer Gilson is sick this week, so I've been playing with the great Neal Wilkinson and he's been telling me about this book by the legendary drummer, Earl Palmer. Now, Palmer is someone who played on a huge amount of amazing records and has a very broad range. Back in the early 50s he was playing with Lloyd Price and Fats Domino, then, in September 1955, Palmer and the rest of Fats' backing band played on Little Richard's Tutti Frutti. So, basically, he invented rock and roll drumming. Palmer would go on to play with Sam Cooke and Professor Longhair, he played on the original Batman theme, Andy Williams' 'Can't Get Used To Losing You', the soundtracks to Bullitt and Mission: Impossible, even Predator. This is a musician who helped invent the whole idea of pop music – everyone has heard his drumming even if they don't know his name. So we celebrated him on the show and played a few things he was on. An amazing chap.

As for guests, we had the always amazing Dawn French who told me she'd always wanted to be an opera singer. I'd like to think we could help her realise that dream. We also had the novelist Mark Billingham, the wonderful Rick Wakeman and the guitarist and song-writer Boz Boorer who was in The Polecats and has, for some time, been Morrissey's co-writer and musical director.

We played a special show this week at the Barrow Hill Roundhouse in Chesterfield. It's a truly wonderful venue and it was there we said goodbye for a while to Melanie C who's been such a big part of the band recently. We had a proper farewell knees-up after the show – she will be missed. Winter is for preparation, while summer is for display.

And that's been this last week. Next week, the TV show returns...

Monday 8th September 2014

Hello! Since we last spoke I've recorded two episodes of my Radio 2 show, one with the wonderful Ali Campbell – formerly of UB40 – and one with Andy Bell from Erasure. They were both great guests, but it was Andy who tipped me off about the mysterious Steve Conway, an English singer from the 1940s who I must confesss I'd never heard of. I went straight to my Spotify and there he was – I couldn't find it anywhere else, by the way – and I'd love to share this with everyone. Andy told me that Conway had been a porter at Billingsgate fish market for a while, but was a big star by the late 40s. He was a crooner, Britain's answer to Bing Crosby and he does have the most remarkable voice. He died of a heart condition in the early 1950s. It's a sad story, but do have a listen.

I ran into Chrissie Hynde this week and she told me she'd love to come on tour with us next summer. I told her about the scent of BBQ in the air at many of the shows, but she promised not to shout at any one she saw cooking...

We had Kirk Brandon in too this week. He has a very strong new record out soon – his intensity hasn't changed a bit from his earliest records, that's a real tribute to him. We talked about his band, Spear Of Destiny, and how I once went to Vienna to see the real Spear of Destiny and verify it was the real one. The Nazi's ended up with it in Berlin, and the rumour – conspiracy theory really – is that after WWII the Allies took the real one and replaced it with an exact replica. I wanted to check with my own trained eye – but it was shut for refurbishment when I got there.

On a brighter note, I accompanied Van Morrison to the GQ Awards. He was on great form, but I was so eager to get inside I went arse-over-tit on the way in. We met Paolo Nutini there – who told us he'd just written a song that sounded just like Wynonie Harris. I rather like that idea...

See you next week!

Monday 1st September 2014

Hello! After a great summer break this last week has been particularly hectic and busy. For one thing, my Radio 2 show is back from today – Monday – with an appearance from the very briliant British classical violinist, Nicola Benedetti. She was marvellous, an impeccable speaker and player – perfect for radio – whose story is all the more remarkable for having grown up in an unmusical family. We perform a version of 'Summertime' and the way Nicola plays will make you love the piece in aways you'd never known before.

On next week's show we've got The Shires who are great young new country duo from Bedfordshire who have such great harmonies – listen out for them, and Moon Mullican's 1953 hit, 'Rocket To The Moon', which I play on the show. We're making the show at the BBC's Maida Vale studios. You know they keep an entire symphony orchestra in the cellar there? I love walking in past the original Radiophonic Workshop studios – what an inspiring place...

So, I've been recording with Emeli Sandé, Imelda May, and Joss Stone over the summer and I've just been in the studio with Kylie. She really is the most incredible person, she's like sunshine, she lights up the whole place. I was going through my Spotify playlists before we met and I thought she'd be great on a new version of The Clash's 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go?'. We gave it a New Orleans' nuance, a bit of The Clash's Junco Partner and a bit of the mighty Neville Brothers. Am I giving away too many secrets here?

Anyway, we played in Greenwich last week, right in the middle of the old Naval College. My mother and grandmother both lived in Greenwich, in houses that were bombed during WWII, so it was a quite odd being on stage and looking out over this place. We were right by the Observatory, on the Meridian Line, which was a wonderful place to play.

Now, I mentioned Imelda May earlier – and I'm happy to say she's now the new me in Ireland. She has her own TV show there that features new and old artists – mainly Irish – playing with her and her excellent band who are rockabilly and boogie experts. The whole thing's made me very happy – I can't think of anyone I'd rather be me!

Until next week...

Monday 28th July 2014

One thing I forgot to mention when I talked about the band playing at Edinburgh Jazz Festival last week, we had the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge in the audience – that shows quite how far jazz has come. Also, the crowds there and in Liverpool were crazed! Melanie C joined us on stage in the latter – of course, that's a hometown show for her – and I had mentioned to her earlier how my great-great grandfather was from Liverpool. She announced during the show how "Jools has a lot of Scouse in him..." which went down well, as you can imagine.

This week I've been recording with Emeli Sande which was a real joy. She really is a fantastic person, a huge talent also terribly glamorous – she arrived in a soft-top Jaguar sports car. So we recorded a version of the Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn song, 'Love Me Or Leave Me', made most famous by Nina Simone in the late 50s. Emeli nailed it in two takes, her voice is brilliant and the band just loved her. The song will appear on my new album which has the working title, 'Sirens of Song' – Imelda May, my scouse-friend Melanie C, Laura Mvula, and Joss Stone are all involved so far.

There's such a wealth of female talent at the moment, Adele and Amy heralded a new dawn – there's so many more opportunites for female artists than there were 20 years ago. Music isn't limited by gender or sex anymore – and it never should have been as talent is free from all such distinctions.

Emeli and I were both very inspired by Nina Simone – she could be a frightening, no-nonsense character, but she took songs and made them her own creations. Her tribute to Martin Luther KIng, '(Why?) The King Of Love Is Dead', released on the 'Nuff Said LP six months after his death in 1968, is a remarkable piece, recommended to all Depths Plumbers.

Finally, I was visiting a friend last week and they had a copy of Randy Newman's 'Harps and Angels' lying on a sofa. Now, I love Randy, but this one had passed me by. So as soon as I got home I fired it up on Spotify and it sounds wonderful, he's such a unique songwriter. The title track is really good.

As I leave you, I want to say thank you to the 7000 people who came to Kew Gardens to see us last week. It was great to see them trampling all over the grass and flowers!

See you next week...

Monday 21st July 2014

Last week we played at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival and at Kew Gardens' Kew The Music event, but really it's all been about rest and preparation. I saw the brilliant Stephanie Trick performing in Edinburgh and she played a version of Princeton-born, jazz stride pianist's Donald Lambert's own take on Richard Wagner's 'Pilgrim's Chorus'. Now, Lambert was a pianist beyond mere pianists, and that track is a formidable finger-buster, so it's all praise to Stephanie there.

This week I'm recording with the wonderful Emeli Sandé, so I will report back and let you all know how that went. As for now, it's so been so hot – and such a giddy heat – that I've been forced to walk around in my underpants. Frankly, I expect to be put in the cells any time soon.

If I'm not I'll see you all next week...

Monday 14th July 2014

This week we've been at the Carlisle Sands Centre and the Wigan International Jazz Festival. They were both great shows and it was a joy to be in Wigan, birthplace of the great George Formby, who George Harrison himself told me as the first British pop star. Now I hear that Johnny Depp is set to play George in an upcoming film of his life. Seems perfectly sensible to me...

So, touring has taken up a lot of time over the last few days, but two pieces of music have stuck in my mind this week. I worked with the late, great Bobby Womack and he was a wonderful songwriter and artist. He started his career early in the history of soul music and did a lot of work, he showed the way forward more than once. He came into do a New Year's Eve later the year before last and did 'Looking For A Love' with Damon Albarn. That was a single for him back in 1974 and I remember buying it then – Bobby was a truly great figure and he'll be missed.

On a happier note, I got a package in the post this week from Paul O'Grady. In it there was a 1940's film, a box and a letter which read, "I want you to have this, Jools". In it there was a tie-pin that used to belong to Fats Waller. There had been a cuff-links too, but Paul, being the kind chap he is, had felt it necessary to give those to Lady Gaga. I honestly think this might be the best gift I've ever been given. The pin is gold with ruby eyes – it looks amazing. Obviously it means I'll have to play with her Ladyship at one point, if only so the items can be reunited. So, in tribute to Paul, Lady Gaga and, of course, Mr Waller himself, I'd like to put 'Handful of Keys' in the playlist – it's a real finger-buster...

Tuesday 8th July 2014

This week kicked off with a signiifcant birthday – not mine, but the legendary Jeff Beck who was celebrating turning 70. I have to admit I found the whole thing a bit bizarre as he doesn't look a day over 12. Jeff really is an absolute marvel, without doubt Britain's greatest ever guitarist.

We've recorded together before, Jeff joined me on a version of Drown In My Own Tears from my More Friends album. He played a particularly brilliant version of 'Brush With The Blues' that night too, that was a real treat to hear.

Elsewhere this week I was reminded of the first ever record I played on. It was Wayne County & The Electric Chairs' classic 'Fuck Off', put out by Safari Records in 1978. I was thrilled to find it on Spotify and also thrilled to discover it sounds as fresh and vibrant as ever.

I think I was paid about £18 for the session itself, but the much more important thing was when I was sent a copy of this thing we'd made. When I'd gone into the studio the song was more or less an instrumental blues, there were no lyrics. Imagine my surprise then when I sat my mother and aunt down and, aged just 19, played it for them that very afternoon. In fact, I'd like all Spotifiers to try and project themsleves into that moment as it really was quite something.

So, coming up we have Cornbury Festival. I hope Russell Brand might pop along as his girlfriend lives nearby. I've also been in the studio with the wonderful Imelda May – I'll tell you about all that next week!

Friday 4th July 2014

This has been a very busy week – with a particularly busy Thursday. I've been in the studio with Rumer and we recorded versions of Percy Mayfield's 1951 song, 'Lost Mind' and Billie Holiday's 'God Bless The Child'. The great jazz singer and pianist Mose Allison did a brilliant version of 'Lost Mind', but I'd recommend all Depths Plumbers to begin with his version of Parchman Farm – dip your toe in there first. So, that was a quite abstract way to reach out from Rumer, but we got there!

Later that same day I played at Bella Freud's Hoping Foundation gala, accompanying Elton John on a version of 'Unchained Melody'. Of course, it's well known what a brilliant pianist he is, but he has the most wonderful voice. Listen to 'Border Song' and you can hear all his Gospel roots.

Naughty Boy was also there and he was very, very good too. Russell Brand was hosting and he mentioned how Mr Naughty had a "nice face", and he really does. You can go a long way with a nice face in this business.

One of the people whose taste I really trust in music is Richard Hawley and this week he turned me onto Toussaint McCall's 1967 hit, 'Nothing Takes The Place Of You'. This is a wonderful record – my exhibition winner for this week!

Friday 13th June 2014

On The Road:
We've just done two nights at Hampton Court which is a wonderful place to play. We were given a tour of the palace before the first night and were shown this great painting of Henry VIII and his jester. The guide was brilliant and he told us this original Tudor joke.

What is the cleanliest leaf in the forest?

It is indeed the holly, for no man dare wipeth his arse upon it!

The old ones, as they say, are the best ones. Later that day I saw a white figure at an upstairs window. I mentioned it to someone and they told me that part of the palace is completely closed off – so that was a bit odd. An American fan gave me a book on Lightnin' Hopkins last night. Like a lot of blues musicians has a huge catalogue, but y ou Depths Plumbers would do well to start with 'Let's Move', that always makes me dance. In fact, I've seen people of all ages just leap up and start dancing as soon as they hear it.

On The Radio:
My Radio 2 show has finished for the summer, but I was on Sean Rafferty's Radio 3 show last week. I thought the DJs would be all dinner jackets and tweeds, but they're just like you and me. I played a version of Ramsey Lewis' 'Consider The Source' – Radio 3 really is such an incredible station.

In The Studio:
I've been writing with Joss Stone – she has the most amazing voice. I can't tell you everything about it now – but there is a new song. If you want to plumb some depths, have a listen to Joss and I doing Bei Mir Bist Du Schön from my 'Golden Age Of Song' album. We'll be on tour together later in the year. I'd also like to say how sad it was to hear of my friend Rik Mayall's death this week. I love this clip, of Rik, Bill Wyman and I playing together...

Friday 30th May 2014

On The Radio:
I had Ade Edmonson on this week and he's always a marvellous guest. He plays English folk music these days with his band, The Bad Shepherds. I recommend all Depth Plumbers check them out. It was great to get the chance to play B.B. King's 'Days Of Old' on the show too, that's a record that has made me happy for years and years. Whenever I'm plumbing the depths that's where I head. I'll be on Paul O'Grady's show this week with will.i.am. Little known fact: Paul is an expert on British cinema and has a serious, specialist subject style knowledge of music hall.

On The TV:
On Later... this week we had Kwabs who was very, very good indeed. Arcade Fire were introduced by Jonathan Ross, which I'm sure confused a lot of people. Imelda May was on and it was a great pleasure to talk to her and her husband and producer Darrel Haigham who, like Jeff Beck and Bruce Springsteen, is a huge fan of another of this week's guests, Hank Marvin, in particular the music he made between the late 50s and the early 60s. Darrel's huge love for that era meant he could ask Hank a string really searching and detailed questions. My TV highlight of this week was Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse's take on Later... during their tribute to BBC 2 evening. Paul's version of me was dazzlingly brilliant. Took a picture of the screen and I plan on using it for my publicity photo from now on.

On The Road:
We're really properly warmed up now and played great shows in Perth, Scarborough, Middlesborough and Wolverhampton this week to some fantastic crowds. While we were in Wolverhampton my trumpet player Chris saw a sign in a taxi that read, "There is a £40 charge for soiling this taxi". So, obviously, we paid upfront and enjoyed ourselves. I've also been listening to myself on Spotify while on the road. At home I live in tunnel of old newspapers and LPs, so Spotify is the easiest way for me to find anything. I was pleasantly surprised to find Much Ado, a track I'd recorded in Spain for a charity record, on there. I'd forgotten I'd even done that...

Friday 23rd May 2014

On The Radio:
I played Lee Dorsey's 'Do Re Mi' this week, that's a superb track. You can hear the beginnings of hip-hop in Dorsey and Allen Toussaint records like 'Get Out Of My Life, Woman'. One particular favourite of mine I played this week is Winnifred Atwell's 'Big Ben Boogie' – a record I was given by my friend Paul Roberson who is that famous bell's caretaker. Those chimes are so wonderful – they are the true music of London. Marc Almond was my guest this week. He's been appearing with my band and we've been performing a version of Dinah Washington's 1963 hit, 'A Stranger on Earth', a song we're great fans of. As a child Dinah was taken to see the great Blues singer Bessie Smith and the Gospel legend Mahalia Jackson. A generation later, Aretha Franklin was taken to see Dinah Washington – so they're all linked together.

On The TV:
On Later... this week we had Ed Sheeran who I think is a great songwriter. He has become a serious international phenomenom – and he sings and plays so well. I was delighted to have my old friend Chrissie Hynde on too, she's always a fantastic guest. Did you know Kelis is a fully-trained Cordon Bleu chef? Her new album is completely focused on food and our conversation went like this:

Me: Square plates or round plates?
Kelis: Always round.
Me: Foam.
Kelis: Never, it's like someone's sneezed on your food!
Me: Pies?
Kelis: What's not to like about pies?

I was very happy to find we were in complete agreement on everything.

On The Road:
My band have been playing across the North of England this week and I've been playing duets with my brother which has been great fun. When people who are related sing together they're said to have 'Blood Harmonies' – so perhaps our piano improvisations are an example of 'Bloody Fists'? We know precisely where the other one is going without saying a word – we're really thinking as one. But maybe we need a better phrase than 'Bloody Fists' – could the Depths Plumbers help?

Monday 19th May 2014

On The Radio:
My guest this week was Suzanne Vega, she was a great guest and we played 'A Walk on the Wildside' as a tribute to our old friend, Lou Reed. When Lou was on my TV show I asked him what his idea of a 'Perfect Day' was and he told me he wouldn't know a perfect day was if it came along and bit him on the arse. I loved getting a chance to play Amos Milburn's 'Chicken Shack Boogie', that's one of the great records of of the late 1940s. From the world of jazz I played the top pianist Earl Hines performing 'Deep Forest' – and I absolutely love that Skatalites record.

On The TV:
On Later... this week we had Brian Eno who is a very interesting musician. He has a huge amout of material on Spotify. I recommend a good dig through his catalougue – there's a lot of pleasure to be had.

On The Road:
My band have been rehearsing a ska version of Fats Waller's 'Ain't Misbehavin''. All Depths Plumbers need to hear how he plays with the tempo – it's a great joy to me every time I hear it. He wrote that song in 1929, so it's almost 90 years old, but it's still so fresh. Playing it in a ska version is really exciting as it's so different...

Monday 12th May 2014

On The Radio:
Belinda Carlisle was on the radio show this week and she was fascinating on wanting to form a punk group in Los Angeles even though, as she admitted, there really wasn't much to be unhappy about there, unlike in London. But that's what was so great about punk. We played a lot of music, of course – I really was plumbing the depths of my collection – but I particularly loved Hal Paige's 'Drive It Home', what a great, early RnB track. But BB King's 1954 single 'You Upset Me Baby' is just great too – the original B-side was 'Whole Lotta Love', which turned out to be fairly influential, didn't it? If you want to plumb the depths of me, you won't get lower down than hearing something like that...

On The TV:
We had Roger Cicero and The Afghan Whigs on this week – both of who were fantastic. On Friday's show I'll be at the piano with Aloe Blacc. We sang together, which interpolates Elton John's 'Your Song', but he told me people often mistake it for Leon Russell's 'Song For You'. I asked him what version he most likes – I love Leon's version – but Aloe's favourite is the Donny Hathaway version, which is very, very good. So, all plumbers, check out Donny, now!

On The Road:
We had a wonderful show this week with Gregory Porter at the Cheltenham Jazz Show; he's one of the greatest new Jazz singers in the world. It's quite a boast, but I believe it to be true. We wrote a song together called 'Sweet Country Love Song' – it's unusual as it refers to the countryside rather than country music. We were on tour together when we wrote this song and he was enjoying the English countryside – not something he'd experienced much back home in New York.

Monday 5th May 2014

On The Radio:
I've been playing Eddie Reader's 'Snowflakes In The Sun' this week – that's a great song, so I wanted to bring people's attention to that. I've also loved Smiley Lewis' 'Mama Don't Like It' – which is a list of music styles that mothers – and fathers – don't like. If you're lucky enough to have your mother she might not appreciate you spending all this time on listening to jump music, pop music and blues music on Spotify instead of doing what mama wants you to do, which is your chores. So think on. A record I've loved this week is Sister Wynona Carr's 'See His Blessed Face' – she has a voice like you would not believe. Just astonishing.

On The TV:
This week on the TV show we have Germany's greatest jazz singer, Roger Cicero who's a huge, huge star in Germany. He's an extraordinary talent – we recorded a version of Stevie Wonder's 'I Love Every Little Thing About You' together once – and he'll be singing Prince's 'How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore'. I found a lot of versions of that song on Spotify, but it was Alicia Keys' version that I really liked. In fact, her version was so good it made me listen to to her cover of Gladys Knight's 'If I Was Your Woman', which is another excellent version.

On The Road:
This week we played some great shows and have been working on some great new songs. We've had Gregory Porter sitting in with us, which has been fantastic – and we're on tour all week. Some big shows coming up...

Monday 28th April 2014

On The Radio:
Music serves a lot of purposes. It can help with feelings of loss and grief, it can help with the shock you feel. In selecing music for a funeral this week I chose a very special piece called Precious Lord, Take My Hand. It was written in 1932 by the great Gospel composer Thomas A. Dorsey after his wife died in childbirth – he also wrote Peace In The Valley – and they were both made famous by Mahalia Jackson, but my favourite version is by Ruby Turner. Before his conversion, Dorsey recorded as Georgia Tom – his 1928 record with Tampa Red, 'Tight Like That', sold around seven million copies. A truly remarkable number, really. My guest on the show this week will be Rosanne Cash, what will we do? I don't know yet!

On The TV:
This week we have Damon Albarn and he, like me, is a very big fan of Music Hall. We're both very keen on Leslie Sarony's 1932 classic, 'Ain't It Grand To Be Bloomin' Well Dead'. You'd have to be very hard of heart to not love a song with a title as catchy as that. Right at the other end of the spectrum, there's Alfred Brendel playing Schubert's 'Opus 90 Impromptu No. 3 in G-Flat', which is a very uncatchy title of a surprisingly catchy tune. Look out also this week for Coldplay, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and The Black Keys.

On The Road:
We're out on the road doing shows right now. Melanie C and Marc Almond are special guests on the tour and they're fitting in so well it's like they're part of the family already. We've been rehearsing old songs and creating brand new things – like a ska version of 'Ain't Misbehavin''. Listen out for that...

Tuesday 22nd April 2014

On The Radio:
One conversation drove everything this week, and that began with us talking about Ray Charles' 1953 hit, 'Mess Around' and how much it was inspired by Big Maceo's 1948 hit on Victor called 'Chicago Breakdown'. That is the hand that touched the hand... I also had the brilliant Herbert Grönemeyer in and he played his song 'Will I Ever Learn' which he recorded alongside Antony Hegarty.

On The TV:
This week has been all about Paolo Nutini for me. In the same way that Alfred Brendel is widely considered to be the greatest living intepreter of Beethoven's work, I believe that Paolo holds that role with Wynonie Harris. Paolo has studied Wynonie like Brendel has studied Beethoven – and so they both understand the other artist. All you need to do is listen to his version of Wynonie's 1952 hit, 'Lovin' Machine'. That's on the show this week...

On The Road:
The big thing this week has been rehearsing our own song 'Love Made Them Do That' with Ruby Turner. We have a load of gigs in May – we're on tour from next week – so it's been a busy time with the band. Next week I'll be in touch from The Road...

Monday 14th April 2014

On The Radio:
I was in this little pub in Deptford a few nights ago and they had my radio show playing over the speakers. Among all the blues tracks I had played was Golden Earrings, a wonderfully strange late-40s hit for Peggy Lee. There was a huge guy at the bar who was almost crying, it had such strong memories for him. Last week I had Eddi Reader on my show, her new record Vagabond is well worth a listen, she has a wonderful voice – you might hear an echo of Peggy Lee, she has a voice a bit like that. Next week I have Herbert Grönemeyer in; he's a little like Germany's Peter Gabriel, and he's great. He did a duet with Antony Hegarty from Antony & The Johnsons for me...

On The TV:
A big thing for Later... is when people come on and do a new version of a song. This week I have Engelbert Humperdinck – Leicester's favourite son – he's just recorded an album of duets and, within that, a new version of Release Me, which I've now learnt! I've been talking to Guy Garvey, too – we've done a version of Everything Happens to Me. I know a lot of songs and I know a lot of music, but I don't know everything and I didn't know this. That's what's great about music, you never can possibly know everything. Guy loves Chet Baker's version, but the chords in that take are very ambiguous, and this is where Spotify really comes into its own. You can listen to the other versions and pick through the arrangement and changes and see how the song took shape. I mean, I have a very large record collection, but without Spotify I would have been hopeless at finding out about that song. I might have had one version, but 10? Not a chance!

Julie London did a great version, too.

That's right! All this great music has been made by men and women, these are real, human artefacts, and they need to be heard.

The Band:
We're working with Melanie C this week recording two songs, one that I wrote with Sam Brown and Chrissie Hynde called Out Of This World and Stevie Wonder's I Wish too. I spent some time this week having a proper Spotify rummage, looking up Confessin' The Blues and I found Wynonie Harris doing his version and it made me so happy as I have Paolo Nutini on Later... next week and he is the greatest living interpreter of Wynonie Harris' style of vocals. He is Wynonie Harris! But let's talk about that more next week...