Tom Jones’ Spiritual Side: ‘Praise And Blame’ An NPR Interview

Tom Jones’ latest album is anything but usual for the 70-year-old Welsh singer, known for hits such as “She’s a Lady” and “Sex Bomb.” On Praise And Blame, Jones reveals a more spiritual side, while showcasing a love of gospel and blues.
“I remember being in Las Vegas with Elvis Presley in the late ’60s, and Elvis loved gospel music,” Jones tells NPR’s Neal Conan. The two were singing in Presley’s suite one night, and Presley asked Jones if he’d ever recorded a gospel album.

Not yet, Jones replied, “but I will do one day.” Nearly half a century later, he’s done just that.

Jones says the songs he’s singing aren’t so different from the Welsh hymns he sang as a boy.

“We used to sing a song in chapel called ‘The Old Rugged Cross.’ People like Mahalia Jackson recorded that; Jerry Lee Lewis recorded it,” Jones says. “There’s a lot of people that have done those songs.”

But the arrangements are different in gospel music than they were at Jones’ church.

“With gospel music, they kick it up a notch — maybe a few notches,” Jones says. “It’s not as strict. They’ve taken hymns and gotten looser with them.”

Jones says that listening to Mahalia Jackson on the radio as a child opened his eyes to how American gospel music varied from what he sang in church. Take “Strange Things,” which Jones recorded for Praise and Blame.

“It reminds me of ’50s rock ‘n’ roll music,” he says. “The lyrics are definitely different, but it’s sort of a boogie feel, which early rock ‘n’ roll was.”

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  1. Tom,
    I remember seeing you on television here in the U.S. for years. Had your LPs and was really impressed with your incredible voice and the way you have kept it over the years. Really impressed when watching the recent broadcast of the Prince’s Trust.
    Really enjoyed your set the most.
    I am curious as to whether the release of this CD with a definite Spiritual side, is a mirror of your own beliefs or merely just an appreciation of the genre of Gospel and Blues. What I have heard is wonderful, as only Tom Jones can do it.
    Thanks so much and keep singing brother!

  2. Thanks for making this wonderful album. It was a huge, happy surprise. I have listened to it many times since getting it last week. Wow! what a great piece of work. In the end it could have only been made by you. The power coming through the music was wonderfully channeled with the carefully spare but energetic backing. I enjoyed the interview as well it was a pleasure to hear your enthusiasm for your work and life. That is inspirational for a fellow old guy. God bless you and your music!

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