Tom Jones became one of the most popular vocalists to emerge from the British Invasion. Since the mid-'60s, Jones has sung nearly every form of popular music – pop, rock, show tunes, country, dance, and techno, he's sung it all. His actual style – a full-throated, robust baritone that had little regard for nuance and subtlety – never changed, he just sang over different backing tracks. On-stage, Jones played up his sexual appeal; it didn't matter whether he was in an unbuttoned shirt or a tuxedo, he always radiated a raw sexuality that earned him a large following of devoted female fans who frequently threw underwear on-stage. Jones' following never diminished over the decades; he was able to exploit trends, earning new fans while retaining his core following.
When Slave to Love: The Best of the Ballads was released in 2000, there hadn't been a true Roxy Music compilation in print for years. Street Life and More Than This were both grab bags of Roxy Music singles and material from Bryan Ferry's solo career. While it's logical to assume that fans of one artist would certainly be interested in the other, the approach never made for a unified compilation – Roxy Music's sound shifted quite a bit over the years, and their earlier, edgier singles never sat well next to the smooth balladeering of Ferry's companion career.
Fifty songs spread among two CDs, various attributed to Cher, Sonny & Cher, and even "Caesar & Cleo," through which we trace the evolution of this duo from a doo wop-influenced pop team into folk-rock and protest mavens, to the media's reigning early-'70s pop/rock team. The sound is very good, and the range of music is almost dizzying, as the influence of Phil Spector wafts in and out over the recordings, and the duo turns its talents toward just about every sound that was selling at the time. There's a huge amount of good music here, much of it familiar from other collections, including "Sunny," "I Feel Something in the Air," and "All I Really Want to Do"…
Depending on who you talk to, the irrepressible Jools Holland is best known as a blisteringly energetic, piano-pounding performer of boogie-woogie, jazz, and R&B; or as the keyboard-wizard sideman to one of the great new wave pop bands of the '70s and '80s; or as one of the U.K.'s most popular television presenters. And while any one of these accomplishments would be enough for most people, Jools Holland has managed to be all those things in his remarkable show biz career – a career that's seen him work with almost everybody who was anybody on the U.K. or U.S. music scene from the late '70s onward.