Praise & Blame [LP]
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If you grew up in the 60's, the name immediately conjures up images of the swiveling-hipped What's New Pussycat? guy who also sang Thunderball. Over the course of decades, Tom Jones, surrounded by a sea of panties, morphed into the ultimate lounge singer. His deep Welsh voice remaining a powerful instrument well into his 60s, he maintained his street cred with an edgy version of Kiss, and lots of hair dye.
What's a performer to do as he enters his 7th decade of life? Jones has made a crafty, calculated choice. He has made a gospel record with bare bones modern production.
I don't quite agree with the previous reviewers who suggest that this is a "Bob Dylan Gospel" disc, although I understand what they mean. Jones does kick thing off with a scorched version of Dylan's "What Good Am I", but a truer analogy is the late, great Johnny Cash's work with Rick Rubin. For on this disc, Jones voice cuts to the bone with a degree of urgency and authenticity that you would have assumed he had lost following decades of singing It's Not Unusual. I assure you - nothing could be further from the truth. On this disc, Tom Jones sings as if his life depends on it. And yours.
I always felt that Cash's final recordings cast him as an Old Testament prophet. Jones doesn't have quite Cash's biblical authority, but the music on this disc (and the severely gaunt image of Jones current appearance that is being used to market the disc) casts illusions to Jones as Tiresias, the blind, ancient Greek prophet through whom the Gods spoke their disapproval. These are harsh times. And this is harsh music. It rings of truth, beauty, and soulfulness.
And it may just be the finest album of Jones career. Scratch that. It simply is.
And that's saying quite a lot.
In the U.S., Tom has been the most underrated singer for more than 40 years. Being known for the underwear thrown at him on stage more than his voice has done him a great disservice. And because so many have automatically dismissed him as someone not to be taken seriously, they have never given themselves a chance to appreciate his great, and I mean GREAT talent.
I often hear people refer to him as a "lounge" singer. This label couldn't be more wrong. He is not, and may I repeat, NOT a lounge singer. He is an artist who sings from the soul like no one else. This is a man who can sing any type music...pop, rock, soul, country, big ballad, jazz, gospel, R&B, rock & roll, dance, hip-hop, rap, love songs, big band, blues, and if he had wanted, even opera. What's most amazing, is that he can do each type of music to perfection. If you hear him sing rock & roll, you would think that's his specialty. But, that's how it is for every type music, as they are all his specialty. I don't know anyone else who can do that. There is a reason why he is known in the U.K. as "the voice". And what a voice!
This new album will reach your soul with it's powerful and spiritual songs, thought provoking words and gut wrenching vocals. My personal favorite on the album is "Did Trouble Me". It's beautiful and moving, but the whole album is a winner. I find myself having to play it over and over. It's hard to believe this man is 70 years old. That alone is an inspiration to us all when you hear this great work.
May Tom have at least 70 more years to keep making great albums!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Have always loved Tom Jones, but the music and his voice in this is just superb -- a different kind of music. Love it!Published 5 months ago by Martha Beamer
This is one of the best albums i have ever heard. Never been a big Tom Jones fan, but i knew that he has an amazing voice and can sing with conviction in a way like few others;... Read morePublished 12 months ago by John Oakley
You're probably thinking of Tom Jones in Vegas. Don't. This isn't that. This is a record by a guy with a great voice with a great love and a great feel for Southern blues and... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Voodoo Daddy-O
This is in my car and has had ore air time than any other CD I own! Tom Jones at his hottest.Published 14 months ago by Sandy Hines
THIS REALLY HIT YOUR HEART! AND YOUR FAITH! BEAUTIFULLY SONG BY TOM JONES!!!Published 14 months ago by Alfonso Rodriguez
This one is hard for me to appraise. The vinyl edition is well recorded, and well performed. The pressing is clean and flawless. Read morePublished 18 months ago by JT