TOM JONES - Praise And Blame (2010)
With a voice as bold and powerful as the man behind it, legendary singer Tom Jones has sold over a hundred million records worldwide since 1965. Following up 2008's dance-infused '24 Hours', the remarkable, stripped back sound of 'Praise And Blame' brings out the best in the Welshman.
This gospel and blues set is the back to basics gambit from Sir Tom. It’s worked for Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond in the past, this stripping of vogues to expose the singer’s raw talent: perversely, it endeared both to younger audiences. Yet Jones is a different entity: his charm was never based on authenticity. In his early career he shifted his pelvis and hollered cracking pop songs, and even his big weepy ballads were knowingly camp. His comeback period – dreamed up by his son/manager – was all irony and winks, targeted at hen parties not critics. Blessed with a soulful voice, he made an unveiled Faustian pact long ago. Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon, Paolo Nutini) produces – minimally – and guests include Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings and BJ Cole. Songs were recorded live and Tom relishes tackling the gothic-religious strains of Dylan’s What Good Am I and the bluesy tropes of John Lee Hooker’s Burning Hell. He’s no slouch barking Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s Strange Things or Mahalia Jackson’s Didn’t It Rain. He means it, sure. Yet these songs were what those people did, and Tom Jones is best at doing something else. Tom without flash is like The Wizard of Oz without a curtain. If you seek proof that he can cut it, and will live forever, look at moments in his scrapbook like I’ll Never Fall in Love Again or I’m Coming Home, not here. - amazon.com
TRACKS: 01. What Good Am I 02. Lord Help The Poor & Needy 03. Did Trouble Me 04. Strange Things Happen Everyday 05. Burning Hell 06. If I Give My Soul 07. You Don't Knock 08. Nobody's Fault But Mine 09. Didn't It Rain 10. Ain't No Grave 11. Run On
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