Monday, July 12, 2010

Tom Jones: What Good Am I

The album is not dead after all - Tom Jones proves it with his collection of timeless songs, "Praise & Blame" which will be released on July 26. (the single "Burning Hell" was released on June 7)

A great vocalist + great musicians + a great producer oddly do not always result in a great work of art, but in this case everything fell into place and a spine chiller and soul shaker of a record has seen the light of day, one that recalls American icons Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley as well as Irish U2 and Canadian Neil Young at their very best. It's black blues, it's white country, it's gospel and it's roots music - not separate, but equal, each musical thread part of a fabric so strong it will never tear.

Tom Jones, the Welsh son of a coal miner was born to sing this material. The recordings that made him famous and his version of Prince "Kiss" are not too shabby either, but he is now 70 and he sounds like a man who has wrestled with demons for decades and is still fighting them. Married for fifty years to Linda but as famous for his womanizing as his music, he is no angel, but then I doubt an angel could sing a song like John Lee Hooker's "Burning Hell" the way Tom Jones sings it on "Praise & Shame".

The following is taken from his MySpace page:

Tom Jones returns with a remarkable new album ‘Praise and Blame’, a collection of songs that examines choice and responsibility via a musical journey through the traditional spiritual repertoire.

This landmark album comes in the legendary singer’s 70th year, a glowing achievement in what has been a ground-breaking, unpredictable roller-coaster of a 45-year career. The songs are taken from repertoire that includes American traditional, gospel and country, seeing Tom going back to his roots and creating a truly evocative musical work, aided and abetted by producer/musician Ethan Johns [Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontagne, Kings of Leon, etc.].

Tom says of ‘Praise & Blame’: “It’s food for thought, it’s real, it’s natural, and in that sense it’s truly me.”