Later With Jools Holland - Hootenanny Review

Christmas and good music never really go together. There has never been a great Christmas song, The Pogues excepted of course, and as if to prove the point, here we have a fine example of the phenomena. Jools' Christmas cash-in is based around the far more enjoyable tradition of Hootenanny and there is some fine music presented here.

Jools Holland, that chirpy fellow who enjoys a bit of the boogie-woogie, here serves up a mish-mash of Hootenanny based shenanigans (he loves that word) for you to play at home and enjoy the ambience of Jools' New Year based antics as often as your heart desires. It's something of a let down to realise that Jools' New Year party bash is filmed some weeks before the big event, but, nonetheless, here are two hours of some fine music with which to see in the New Year all year around.

Just take a look at that line up, some of the biggest names in rock, and all singing their little hearts out. However, removed from the context of the bands, and often music, that established their reputations and it does sometimes seem a little flat. Robert Plant, for example, crooning his way through 'Let The Boogie Woogie Roll' possess none of the grandeur associated with the name and comes across as slightly embarrassing. It would be churlish to say that Ray Davies rendition of 'You Really Got Me' also sounds slightly flat compared to the original, of course it would, and, well, it does.

That's not to say that some of the music on here isn't fantastic. Jimmy Cliffs 'You Can Get It' is wonderful, as is John Cales' 'I Wanna Be Around'. It goes without saying that Chas 'n' Dave are as wonderful as ever. Tom Jones and Cerys Mathews singing 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' is as camp as it sounds. All in all, though, there's the lingering doubt that what makes for a passably entertaining television programme makes for a fairly poor DVD, when there are so many other music DVD's in competition for your cash. More particularly so, given the poor range of extras.

A bit of a curate's egg, then but here's no denying that the music is mostly good, and it would probably make for a great CD, but as a DVD it suffers from it's television roots, and festive setting, and it is difficult to imagine the circumstances in which this would be played often. It also depends greatly on your tolerance for Jools Holland, who can, some would say, border on the irritating. Save your cash for something better.

Nothing to complain about here, an excellent, clear and clean transfer with no hint of artifacts or any other damage. Colours are strong and bright with no bleeding. Looks better than when it was broadcast.

Excellent. A strong, bright, wide and clear stereo mix which still manages to make excellent use of the surround channels for audience ambience which adds greatly to the illusion of the 'liveness' of the performances.


No, wait, there is one. The option to play six of the tracks in any order you like. The excitement you will gain from doing this is limited at best.

As if that were not enough, there is the option to jump straight to the credits all the way from the main menu. You don't need us to tell you how useful and interesting an extra this is. And you don't even get the subtitles for the songs, merely for Jool's introductions. Bizarre and slightly pointless.

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