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Not later, but here and now for Jools and his big band

Given the fact that he's been on TV for two decades fronting Later, the best music programme on telly by a long way and with the simplest format to boot, it's quite possible that there's a proportion of his audience who don't realise that Jools Holland was once a member of Squeeze.

One of the best British bands of the late Seventies/early Eighties, the band's chief songwriting duo of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook drew high praise, to the extent of being dubbed 'the new Lennon and McCartney' by one particularly excitable American critic.


Even Difford and Tilbrook themselves would probably have had a chuckle at that one, but there was no denying the quality of their work during their peak years. Their songs were playful and melodically breezy but with a skilfully conveyed undercurrent of darkness in there with the humour.

During their early winning streak of Take Me I'm Yours, Cool for Cats, Up the Junction, Goodbye Girl, Slap and Tickle, Pulling Mussels (From the Shell) and Another Nail in My Heart, Jools was a strong presence on keyboards.

On leaving to pursue a TV career and his interest in performing boogie woogie, Jools was replaced by former Ace singer/keyboardist Paul Carrack and the band went from strength to strength.

Difford and Tilbrook had their differences, too, splitting and reuniting as Squeeze and developing solo work. But they've been drawn back together time and again.

>Squeeze: Take Me I'm Yours is on BBC4 tonight at 9pm. Jools Holland and his Rhythm'n'Blues Orchestra play the Bord Gais Energy Theatre tonight and tomorrow.

> George Byrne