LA TIMES: Van Morrison & Tom Jones team for a wild night at the Hollywood Bowl


Not all of the significant voices of pop music from the 1960s are hunkered down in the Coachella Valley this week for Desert Trip, and two of them got together Thursday the Hollywood Bowl to demonstrate the veracity of the Who’s songwriter Pete Townshend’s observation that “It’s the singer, not the song, that makes the music move along.”

Van Morrison and Tom Jones, two of the most revered singers to emerge at the same time Desert Trip’s six headliners were starting out packed the Bowl for a chance to see them share a stage. Share they did, both during Jones’ opening set and again after Morrison and his band took over to finish the three hour-plus evening.

Morrison just turned 71, putting him slightly on the younger side of the average age of 72 for Desert Trip’s big guns: Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, the Who, Neil Young and Roger Waters. Jones, now 76, is a bit on the other side of that mathematical equation, but both demonstrated that the passing of years doesn’t have to equate with diminishing of musical acumen.

Over the last five years, Welsh singer Jones has put out three of the finest albums of his long career — “Praise and Blame,” “Spirit in the Room” and last year’s “Long Lost Suitcase” — in which he mines the blues, R&B, gospel and folk influences that have always been lurking beneath the polished pop music he made for much of that career.

Morrison too on his just-released album, “Keep Me Singing,” builds on similar blues, jazz and soul elements that have long infused his music, that has put him on a par through his life with rock’s greatest songwriters and made him the envy of many of them for interpretive skills as a vocalist that put him in the company of Ray Charles and other great soul singers.

That gave them a great reason, not just an excuse, to join forces for this one intersection of their respective current U.S. tours.

Over the last five years, Welsh singer Jones has put out three of the finest albums of his long career — “Praise and Blame,” “Spirit in the Room” and last year’s “Long Lost Suitcase” — in which he mines the blues, R&B, gospel and folk influences that have always been lurking beneath the polished pop music he made for much of that career.

Morrison too on his just-released album, “Keep Me Singing,” builds on similar blues, jazz and soul elements that have long infused his music, that has put him on a par through his life with rock’s greatest songwriters and made him the envy of many of them for interpretive skills as a vocalist that put him in the company of Ray Charles and other great soul singers.

That gave them a great reason, not just an excuse, to join forces for this one intersection of their respective current U.S. tours.

Article written by Randy Lewis for The LA TIMES

Article available online here - Tom Jones in Robust Voice and Rockin' Form at Tower Gig


Early in his show at the Tower Theater Tuesday night, Tom Jones reminisced about the 1970s in Las Vegas, and how he and Elvis Presley would hang out together after their respective shows and "sing gospel songs all night long."

Both of them ruled the Strip at the time, but if there was a difference in their careers it was this: Elvis had a reservoir of artistic credibility from his '50s work before losing his way with schlock in the '60s. Jones made his name with mostly cheesy pop hits in the '60s and became synonymous with Vegas showmanship and the shallowness that implies.

Jones' road to being taken seriously (at least by rock snobs) was a long one, although anyone paying attention knew the big-voiced Welshman always had the goods. Just look at clips from his 1960s TV show, where he goes toe-to-toe with Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Stevie Wonder. Or fast-forward to 2003 and watch him jam with Van Morrison and Jeff Beck.

At the Tower, Jones was in total command without being showy. At 76, he's a white-haired eminence whose voice is as clear and robust as his artistry. He's digging deeper than ever, masterfully interpreting songs that are obviously close to his heart, and keeping the focus strictly on the music.

Jones' last three albums have been superlative, stripped-down takes on blues, gospel, folk, and country, and it was that material and similar fare that formed the emotional bulwark of the nearly two-hour show. He came onstage unannounced and tore through John Lee Hooker's "Burning Hell" with just a guitarist and drummer. Eventually joined by his full nine-piece band, he kept the focus on gospel and blues, from the rave-up "Didn't It Rain" and the searing "The Soul of a Man," to more secular-minded fare such as Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me Not to Come" and "You Can Leave Your Hat On."

Gospel also closed the night as, after delivering Prince's "Kiss," a cover that helped revive his career, he and the band went out on the high of Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "Strange Things."


The old hits were judiciously sprinkled throughout. The stately country-soul of "The Green Green Grass of Home" fits in seamlessly with his current work. As for numbers such as "Delilah" and "It's Not Unusual," Jones played them straight, careful not to treat them as kitsch or with ironic detachment. And "What's New Pussycat?" was given a pretty cool new arrangement - just acoustic guitar, accordion, and sousaphone - that reduced its ridiculousness and helped it fit in with the rootsy nature of the rest of the set list.

While singing Leonard Cohen's "Tower of Song," Jones got a rise from the audience when he reached the line, "I was born with the gift of a golden voice." He has not only served that gift well, but added luster to it.

Article written by Nick Cristiano for

Article available online here

Live Nation TV - Tom Jones Brought the Past into the Present in Philadelphia Last Night


The Welsh singer began the U.S. leg of his tour in support of his 2015 album 'Long Lost Suitcase' at the Tower Theater last night.

Written by Allie Volpe • Photography by Colin Kerrigan • September 21, 2016

Tom Jones is a man of many voices—a sonic chameleon, an aural shapeshifter able to transform his instrument into any genre, style, or time period he so chooses. The Welsh singer began the U.S. leg of his tour in support of his 2015 album Long Lost Suitcase at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia last night. In a true showman's fashion, he gave a gentlemanly bow before erupting into a repertoire of hits from rock 'n' roll's past.

Pulling cuts from his trio of albums produced by Ethan Johns, which includes 2010's Praise & Blame and Spirit In The Room which would follow two years later, in addition to Suitcase, Jones again proved his ability to step into any song or story and make it uniquely his. From the bombastic rockabilly blues rendition of John Lee Hooker track "Burning Hell" to the tender and melodic spin on Leonard Cohen's "Tower Of Song," the evening's performance had depth as well as width. His career spans over 50 years, yet Jones makes fresh and new material that predates his time in the limelight.


At its fullest, Jones' backing band consisted of nine players, and ranged from horns to organ and guitar. These bright features helped move the show along, ushering in various arrangements like the wild full band "Raise A Ruckus"—a jubilant and full contrast to the sleek and minimal recorded version on Suitcase—or the stark and moving "Elvis Presley Blues."

Mentions of Presley were noted, with Jones paying tribute to his late friend through another musician's song. He poured life into lyrics written about the man he knew well—"And he shook it like a chorus girl / And he shook it like a Harlem queen" turned not cliche, but revelatory under Jones' deep baritone vibrato. Tales of he and Presley's time singing gospel songs together prefaced "Run On." Another tenderhearted anecdote lead into the Lonnie Johnson original "Tomorrow Night," which Jones transformed into a crooning moonlit ballad, a favorite of his late wife who passed earlier this year.


The night's most anticipatory and well received moments came in the form of notable original recordings given new workings. "Sexbomb" was shed of its original funk and given the Las Vegas treatment with a dramatic and slowed introduction filled with sultry guitar wailings and accented rests in between mentions of "sexbomb" before transitioning into a brass-lead groove. Accordion, acoustic guitar, and tuba accompanied Jones on a romantic version of "What's New Pussycat?" fit for any French cafe. Rather than the chipper "Delilah" of 1968, a Latin salsa variety exists in 2016. On more than one occasion, security interrupted showgoers approaching the stage, panties waving overhead.

With a voice as strong and unwavering as ever, Jones' new arrangements and revisits to music history's past refocused attention on the demands of being a solo performer whose only instrument of vocals leaves no curtains to hide behind. He takes the listener on a journey of his own musical discovery, leading with charisma and wide smiles while he builds a world of song around us. The goal of Long Lost Suitcase is not to banish old with the new, but to invigorate the past with a life well sung.

Article available here

Caught Live! Park life for Sir Tom Jones on the green green grass


TOM Jones turned Kelvingrove Park into his very own Green Green Grass Of Home last night.

The Welsh crooner put on a sensational show at the Bandstand in Glasgow's West End.

He got the party started with his cover of John Lee Hooker's Burning Hell then thrilled the sell-out crowd by rattling through an epic greatest hits set which included timeless classics Sexbomb, Delilah and It's Not Unusual.

It turns out middle aged women really do throw their knickers on stage at Tom Jones gigs though even some of the heavier sets didn't make it that far.

You had to feel for the die-hards dancing away at the front.

It wasn't all laughs though and the great man paid emotional tributes to Elvis and then late wife Linda before a touching version of Tomorrow Night.

He sent his fans - ranging in age from 10 to 80 - home happy by rounding off an incredible night with Thunderball and Kiss before finishing with Strange Things Happening Every Day.

He is 76 years of age. What an absolute legend.

And what a Voice.

Article - The Scottish Sun - available online here

Sir Tom: A tower of song at the Eden Project

Tom Jones

Eden Sessions

Review by Lee Trewhela



TO quote the Leonard Cohen song which the boy from the valleys has made his own, Tom Jones truly is a tower of song.

The hip-swinging sex symbol days may be long gone but he held the 6,000-strong audience of a certain age rapt with that extraordinary voice which only gets better with age.

Not many 76-year-olds can sing the way he did on Elvis Presley Blues (he knew The King, you know) or Thunderball.

There was one astonishing moment when Tom's voice went as cavernous as is humanly possible much to the delight of the awed audience.

Tom 4

Other highlights included a misty-eyed Green, Green Grass Of Home and the song from last year's Long Lost Suitcase that his late wife Linda loved, reaching a peak with that funky version of Prince's Kiss.

Still getting the ladies excited (witness the jokey knicker-throwing at Eden), Tom has also matured into a performer who gets music lovers equally excited.The Eden Project witnessed yet another legend work their magic in its amazing setting.

Oh and hats off to support artist AJ Brown, 50 years younger than Tom, whose easy charm and Buble meets Elton style won over a lot of new fans.

Article available here
Photos: Ian Mayou

The Huffington Post - What I Learned From Sir Tom


Tonight (Saturday 16th April) on BBC TWO at 9pm, a very special BBC Music documentary will be broadcasted, Tom Jones' 1950's: The Decade That Made Me.

Sir Tom had a wonderful time filming this piece last year. He hopes you all enjoy it, and get a kick out of seeing how it was back then.


The director of the piece Chris Rodley has written a piece for The Huffington Post about the filming experience and what he learned from Sir Tom. Check it out below.

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It's very scary to be asked by the BBC Music TV department to direct a documentary with Sir Tom Jones. Not about him, you understand. That would be too easy. That's been done before. This was going to be made with him, but be about the 1950s - with Tom as a prism for the decade. So I'm already worrying 'How am I going to stop myself from encouraging Tom to talk mainly about himself and his unparalleled career and get him to talk to the world about him?' And 'How the hell am I going to stop him hi-jacking the camera'? Lenses love legends. They can't stop looking at them. They know a good face when they see it (or rather, see through it). Damn these clever-clogs BBC ideas. Why can't we just make a show about Sir Tom Jones? Not one with him, as our guide through a grey decade.

Before meeting Sir Tom, his son and manager, Mark Woodward, wanted to know - when it came to shooting - if I'd be able to forget that his dad is the legendary Tom Jones? And I'm thinking 'No. Can Tom?' Expectations were building and with them, my anxieties. Would I be able to discover Tommy Woodward, the 50s adolescent with an experience that was both particular to South Wales and yet representative of the decade and the country as a whole?

I've only felt truly threatened twice in my life - once in Downtown LA in 1988 when a stranger shouted at me "Hey Homes! Nice leather jacket." The second was when I walked into a pub in south Wales in 1974 and asked for a lager and lime. What was their greatest export going to think of me?

Luckily, I've had some good training. The first documentary I wrote in 1983 involved me interviewing the actor Patrick McGoohan - part panther, part tortured Irish Roman Catholic, part driven genius. Cigarettes got us through that one and I've given up. Then there was the film with Dirk Bogarde in 1992... Another trial by fire, but this time sweetened with bottle after bottle of chilled frascati, and a steady stream of unrepeatable stories, over a getting-to-know-you period prior to shooting lasting a year.

No such luxury here. We had to film in two weeks' time. We had access to Sir Tom for three or four days. So when the crew eventually gathered for the first day of shooting in the car park of the University of South Wales in Pontypridd, waiting for him to arrive, I really had no idea what might happen.

At the end of Orson Welles' movie Touch of Evil, Marlene Dietrich's Tanya says of the director's now dead Police Chief Quinlan, "What does it matter what you say about people? He was some kind of a man." That works just fine for me when it comes to Tom Jones. The crew and I laughed a lot over those few days. Tom would literally burst into life when talking about rock 'n' roll, and all the different kinds of music he loves. You can see it in the film. Suddenly he's on fire. He's a kid again, full of genuine wonder and unbridled passion. He can't help himself. And it's not just compelling because it's delivered in that glorious baritone voice; it's also compelling because of the geyser-like emphasis he puts on certain words as he goes. For instance, no one says "Tight" the way Tom does - the way it should always be said - through clenched teeth. It sounds sexier that way.

While filming on the street where Tom's sweetheart Linda lived as a child, and where they slept together as man and wife for the first time, we were spotted - first by a small, group of impossibly large young men (pictured with Tom above), and then by the man now living next door to Linda's family home. The young men wanted to know if Tom could get them a job on The Voice. The old man was clutching a framed photograph of himself and Tom together, taken in 1965 on Laura Street in Ponty. The young men just couldn't comprehend this. Did they even have cameras way back then?

Tom was at ease with all of them, maybe because he could have been any of them - if it hadn't been for that voice. He's absolutely representative, but not at all typical.

What Tom taught me is that it really is possible, if you have a singular talent and a huge amount of confidence, to go out and create the life you've imagined for yourself - even if that life is very different from the one you've been leading - and yet remain the warm, regular guy you were when you set off.

I have been thinking about Tom a lot this week. Our film has ended up going out in the week that he's lost his childhood sweetheart after 59 years of marriage, the woman who grew up where he grew up, who was as much a part of where he's from as Tom himself. That must be so hard. But I know that Tom and his family are very glad that Tom got to go back and explore the decade that made him and the place that he comes from late last year. When we took Tom to South Wales to explore his childhood and adolescence it was back before Christmas. Linda was still alive and there was no sense of loss to cloud how much Tom owes to her and to Ponty and the 50s. That debt is palpable in this film. That's why it was appropriate to dedicate the film to her memory.

Also, as it turned out, I needn't have worried about the 50s thing. Tom was intuitively on point throughout. As a director, he makes you feel like you're at the wheel of a Ferrari with 10 gears: everything is feasible, fun and fast.

Article written by Chris Rodley for The Huffington Post.

Article available here.

13th Floor Review: Tom Jones – Vector Arena March 19, 2016

It’s been six long years since Tom Jones played in New Zealand, and last night at The Vector Arena there was a palpable excitement in the air, with some enthusiastic fans dressing up in 70’s gear with wigs, medallions and flamboyant clothes. But is that what the night would be about?! The band consisted of drums, two keyboardists, two guitarists and bass. Tom entered and looked grounded, strong and happy. At 75 he still has a very youthful feel.

It was an interesting start to the set as he sang four songs from his 2010 album Praise & Blame, (an album of stripped back traditional spiritual and contemporary gospel songs). Setting the scene for the evening, he began with John Lee hooker’s Burning Hell, and we followed him “down to the crossroads in fear and trembling,” considering a deal with the Devil.

Tom spoke of his times hanging out with Elvis and sang the traditional song Run On which the King had covered too, and with the lyrics “sooner or later I’m gonna cut you down” … there was a darker vibe.

Next Didn’t it Rain with widescreen images of rain falling behind the band. Clearly happy to be in NZ, he encouraged the audience to clap along and was applauded when he sang in his trademark low register – the whole arena experiencing the presence of his incredible voice – almost operatic with a phenomenal rich tone.

You Don’t Knock was an upbeat rock’n’roll number delivered with a big ending to rapturous applause, by now the crowd being pulled in and upwards, true believers one and all. Tom then spoke to us  “Hello Auckland – “I’m going to be doing everything that’s humanly possible tonight!” and he cleverly transitioned into a more familiar song, introducing a brass section, to deliver Sex Bomb in the style of 80’s rocker Stray Cat Strut, complete with walking bass and a great vocal, where he teased the audience with the beguilingly clever lyrics.

The audience were up dancing and the obligatory knickers were thrown onto the stage – but Tom ignored them, and took us straight back to his new music, four songs from his 2015 LP Long Lost Suitcase (the companion to his autobiography, Over The Top And Back). 

The first one was a highlight of the evening, the Lonnie Johnson song Tomorrow Night. With a backdrop of a moon over the ocean, Tom sang over a beautiful Hawaiian guitar and accordion. Then Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To Do? followed by Raise a Ruckus with Hillbilly harmonies and everyone singing along and big applause as Tom acknowledged the daffodils and Welsh flags being waved around – and then the rock n roll Take My Love (I Want to Give It)

It seemed to take a while for many of the audience to recognise the next song as it started slower and with a Pulp Fiction feel, Toms voice was accompanied by a Dick Dale surf style guitar – the tension and darkness was building. On the screen blood and roses being smashed, and blood running down a drain. The line “I felt the knife in my hand as she laughed” resonated, the horns were back and the song kicked into a Samba Bayon beat  (similar to the original groove of It’s Not Unusual).

It was Delilah! Arms were waved joyfully in the air while singing along with the chorus “My, my, my Delilah” which was quite a contrast to what was on the screen but everyone embraced it, there to have a good time – it was a spectacular version.

This was followed by Fall in Love – Tom’s voice sounded particularly beautiful and soothing – with phones instead of lighters being waved in the air and then my favourite song of the night Shake a Hand, written in 1953 by Joe Morris and originally performed by Faye Adams. Starting with a cool guitar riff and vocal the song built, depicting a reassuring new lover making promises with lyrics “Just give me a chance, I’ll take care of everything’.

Then back to his suitcase for Elvis Presley Blues – A powerful song written by Gillian Welch, sung with just guitars and gentle keys. Tom told us how Priscilla Presley approved of the song saying “it was a haunting tribute to Elvis”

You could feel Tom soul searching while singing two songs from his 2012 album  Spirit in the Room. Soul Of A Man,  with its pounding bass line and the stage lit red, and then, to massive applause, Leonard Cohen’s Tower Of Song – beautifully delicate with a moody instrumentation.

And back to familiar territory with The Green Green Grass of Home  country style, with a singalong chorus and huge applause.

Next the classic, It’s Not Unusual. This song was originally written for Sandie Shaw. Tom was just meant to be the demo singer, but once recorded they both knew it was perfect for him, and it went on to be his first number one and launch his career. Personally, I was hoping to hear it played in its original style – this version was slower and more downbeat.

The next two songs brought the house down; Mama Told Me Not To Come, and You Can Leave Your Hat On. They were followed by If I Only Knew, and the set ended with the rocking I Wish You Would.

For an encore the band came back and jammed for what seemed like a long time before Tom returned and sang the Bond Theme Thunderball. Something seemed a little discordant and uncomfortable in the sound but the melody shone through, with Tom’s voice sounding phenomenal.

Next, Kiss, which seemed to be the highlight of the night for most of the audience. And for the last song back to his recent Praise & Blame album for Strange Things – upbeat rock’n’roll blues, with everyone dancing and … more underwear thrown on stage!

Tom showed his depth tonight, and was determined to stamp out the pants! The darker side was revealed, with most of his set being made up of his more recent songs from his trilogy of albums which have seen him go back to his rhythm and blues roots. Away from the glitzy entertainer, and back to singing songs with heart and soul which HE wants to sing. Back to his core, to his voice, and what a voice!

With his operatic power, mixed with the grace and sensibility of a soul singer – he feels the songs, you know they resonate with him deeply and he sings from the heart. Tonight we saw Tom Jones. Tonight we saw who he really is. His voice won through.


Article by: Jennie Cruse

Article available here

Amnplify Review: Tom Jones at Adelaide Entertainment Centre 15/03/16

Even if you aren’t a diehard fan, there is no doubting you would be familiar with Sir Thomas Jones Woodward OBE. Better known as Tom Jones. Rising rapidly to fame in the mid 60’s and some 50 years later he is still growing his fan base that clearly has no age limit.

Adelaide had the pleasure of Tom’s company last night and amid a sea of Welsh flags there was a diverse range of ages of punters in the audience it truly shows that age is but a number.


Sir Tom choosing to go this show alone, no support act to whet the crowds appetite, and to be honest while it’s always nice to have another group along – perhaps a new group to discover, or another artist you are familiar with to build the excitement – with an artist of this calibre he more than truly had the audience hanging in anticipation.


Before long the lights went dark a mysterious red glow across the stage, a guitarist perched either side of a sole microphone stand front and centre and a subtle display of numerous brass instruments and guitars, peaking my interest and what was in store for us during this show. Slowly but surely he emerged stage right to rapturous applause. A nod of the head, a small bow and he began. Opening the show with newer tracks Burning Hell and his cover of Run On the crowd was instantly on his side, singing along with him.


A great variety of tracks – 24 in total – many of which were reworked and given new life, including a toned down swing style Sex Bomb which the fans appeared to love and had Tom swinging his hips to the beat. Later on a reworked Delilah seemed to take the fans by surprise the new rhythm and slower guitar intro not getting a reaction until he sang the opening line. It wasn’t long before they were singing along in delight though, belting out the chorus in unison.


The brass section and keyboardists joining in on stage were a welcome addition not only musically but watching them perform was also a treat. From their fancy footwork, dance moves galore and encouraging the crowd to get involved. Frank, Henry and Trevor are a fabulous show in themselves. You could tell they were enjoying themselves and Tom clearly enjoyed having them there, wandering over to them to share a dance and watching as they each performed various solo moments.


The same with the rest of the band on keys, guitars and drums each time one of them was taking on a solo, Tom watched on in delight often playing air guitar or air keys along with them.

The middle of the set saw a change to a slower pace as he took on ballads that were hauntingly beautiful, from a dedication to Elvis in which Tom explained playing the track to Priscilla Presley and receiving her approval “it’s good enough for me” he said. Followed by a stunning rendition of Tower of Song. If there’s one thing that can be said about his ageing, is that he’s done it well. This song in particular the lyrics ring true to his story and his crystal clear vocal simply backed up that this remarkable man was indeed born to sing.


One thing that didn’t go unnoticed was his humour. Tom likes to tell a story as he progresses and include not only a few anecdotes along the way but a dirty joke or two as well. Raising his glass with a tradition Welsh cheers of “Lechyd da” Explaining to those who aren’t Welsh that it means “Good Health”, he also explained to the crowd that many people used to think it meant “Up your kilt” – “But we don’t wear kilts in Wales they only wear kilts in Scotland”, “And do you know why they wear kilts in Scotland?” he asked with a devilish grin before laughing to himself and sharing “Because the sheep can hear a zipper a mile away”.


Towards the end of the night more well known tracks came to light finally bring the crowd to their feet. Reworked Latin inspired It’s Not Unusual a highlight of the night with Tom busting a move similar to a solo Samba and the crowd on their feet, it was clearly party time followed by Mama Told Me Not To Come and You Can Leave Your Hat On. I was expecting it much earlier but it was during this track that the first pair of hot pink knickers were launched on stage, landing at his feet, he either didn’t seem them or he did a great job at pretending he didn’t. Thankfully it didn’t start a trend with only a few others pairs being thrown and falling short of the stage.


I Wish You Would rounded out the set with an all in party many up out of their chairs dancing two women in particular who came from opposites ends of the room and by the end of it were dancing arm in arm, again the brass section encouraging the dancing and clapping making sure everyone was feeling good. It was a nod of the head, a small bow and blown kiss and Sir Tom had left the stage leaving the band to finish the set.


A couple of minutes later after loud chants of “We want Tom” The band returned, shortly thereafter followed by Tom. An incredible encore that included Thunderball, Kiss and Strange Things Happen. Tom took a moment to introduce the band members and a thank you to the crew members before they took a group bow and left the stage.


During the show he announced that he is now 75. A remarkable effort to still not only be touring, but performing so well.


His voice – flawless, his charm – never ending, his humour – endearing and the overall performance was outstanding. From beginning to end the crowd were hooked, there is a clear reason Tom is still a superstar and it’s because he’s not just a singer he’s an entertainer. He is engaging and interactive from start to finish.  This is a show that everyone needs to see. Truly fabulous!


Article by: Bronwen Caple

Article available here

Colosoul Review: Tom Jones at Kings Park, Perth

On Sunday night, the people of Perth were lucky enough to witness the specular Sir Tom Jones at Kings Park. Supported by local group Odette Mercy and Her Soul Atomics and the marvelous Mahalia Barnes with her band The Soul Mates, this would be a night that would go down in history. Even though it was still ridiculously humid at five o’clock, Kings Park became rapidly filled to its capacity. With a sold out show, it was no wonder everyone was keen to get down there early not to miss an opportunity of a lifetime. Odette Mercy and Her Soul Atomics set the mood for the evening, as they played a funky, jazzy and soulful performance. Similar in aesthetics and sound to Mahalia Barnes and The Soul Mates, Mercy’s set differed in style as it was more laid back and easy listening. The relaxed atmosphere made it easier for everyone to bear the heat, as they bought more and more ice cold drinks. The six-member band incorporated a variety of instruments including a saxophone and a trumpet. However it was Odette Mercy’s wonderful voice that stood out the most.

As the sun finally set, a giant sigh of relief filled Kings Park. The Sun took the heat away with it, leaving in it’s presence, a beautiful balmy night making way to the stage the incredible Mahalia Barnes and The Soul Mates. The five-piece band consisting of (Mahalia’s husband) Ben Rodgers on bass, Franco Raggatt on Guitar, Paul Grey on Keys and Dave Hibbard on Drums, played a variety of blues, soul and rock throughout the hour. Barnes, with her soulful and powerful vocal abilities, covered quite a few Betty Davis songs, such as If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up, and Ike & Tina Turner’s song River Deep, Mountain High, but it was her cover of Carol King’s (famously covered by Aretha Franklin) (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, that left everyone with goose bumps as they sang along. As The Soul Mates gave a poetically melodic performance, Barnes sang each note which such talent and beauty. The cover was a chilling and captivating piece, making it a highlight of the night. Barnes and The Soul Mates sang a few songs off their EP Volume 1, including a beautiful tribute to Barnes and Ben’s daughter Ruby, called Little Lights. Finishing the set off they performed Tina Turner’s song Proud Mary, everyone got up and danced, having such a great time, and it was clear Mahalia Barnes and The Soul Mates made a lasting impression on the audience.

Opening with one of his newer hits Burning Hell, Tom Jones lit up the stage as everyone cheered and whistled. Wearing his smart yet casual suit, Jones had the audience captivated from the very beginning with his magnificently haunting yet timeless voice. Speaking about his friendship with Elvis Presley and his time spent in Las Vegas, Jones sang his song Run On, a bluesy and country rock song that got everyone grooving in their spot. After Run On, Jones sang Don’t Knock and Didn’t It Rain but it was his fifth song Sex Bomb that had the audience’s complete enthusiastic attention. Women of all ages threw their underwear on stage which made it obvious that yes, Sir Tom Jones of 75 years of age, still had it. Starting the song off slowly, with just a guitar and his voice, Jones created a mysterious element to the famous song. Building up a climax the lights shone onto the crowd and all the instruments joined in for a faster pace. By his eighth song Black Eyed Susie, Jones’ shirt was complete drenched in sweat, which he modestly acknowledged “it shouldn’t be this hot in March?” As he spoke about the rugby earlier that day, it was clear there were a lot of Welsh in the audience as they started to boo. Jones spoke about where in Wales he was from and then launched into the more country than rock song. Nine people joined him on stage, so there was a large variety of instruments, including a trombone, a sax, a trumpet, piano, keys, drums, guitar and an accordion. The tenth song was the famous Delilah, which had everyone captivated as Jones sang the start by himself, “I saw the light on the night that I passed by her window.” A soulful beginning that gained momentum as the instruments picked up. I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, and Soul Of a Man were next, then Tom Jones did a cover of Gillian Welch’s Elvis Presley Blues “That’s a strong song, that’s Elvis’ life in three verses.” People were having the time of their lives, as many of the older generation relived their youths for hits such as Green Green Grass Of Home, It’s Not Unusual, You Can Leave Your Hat On, I Wish You Would and Kiss. Tom Jones surprised everyone as he performed non-stop with such charisma, strength and talent for two energetic hours. After thanking everyone briefly and walking off stage, it was clear it wasn’t over yet as Jones and the band came back on stage for the encore. Finishing the night off with a “rock n roll, gospel, rhythm n blues, soulful” bang, Jones performed the song, suggested to him by Little Richard, Strange Things Happen Everyday. Always modest to acknowledge everyone else behind his music, Sir Tom Jones thanked the band one by one, as they all bowed together. “Goodnight and god bless you all” were his last words, extremely fitted as everyone left feeling a little bit more blessed than before.


Article by: Dariya Salmin

Article available here


Best of 2015, 10 great albums in 2015 include works by

Sir Tom Jones, Chris Stapleton, Rhiannon Giddens, Los

Lobos and more



Rhiannon Giddens, "Tomorrow Is My Turn" (Nonesuch): A tour de force by the lead singer of the Carolina Chocolate Drops in her solo debut. She can sing anything from Southern blues to Celtic folk and French cabaret with equal aplomb, and is shaping up as a first-rate songwriter as well.

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, "Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats" (Concord): A welcome jolt of bracing soul and R&B from the Denver-based singer and songwriter, who delivers a riveting performance that's both of-the-moment fresh and true to its '60s-rooted sources of inspiration.

Tom Jones, "Long Lost Suitcase" (S-Curve): The third entry in the 75-year-old Welsh singer's trilogy of career-redefining albums with English producer Ethan Johns. He can still shake the rafters, and melt the heart, with that mighty voice.

Kacey Musgraves, "Pageant Material" (Mercury Nashville): Musgraves' material is so smart and witty you almost take its musical inventiveness and lyrical insights for granted. Don't.

Chris Stapleton, "Traveller" (Mercury Nashville): Stapleton's trenchant pen combines with his soul-drenched rasp of a voice for a moving exploration of the panoply of emotions in the human experience.

The Mavericks, "Mono" (Valory Music): As unbridled and joyful a session to come out of a recording studio since, well, the Nashville-based boundary-bending band's last one, 2013's "In Time." This is why human beings make music.

Los Lobos, "Gates of Gold" (429 Records): A characteristically gorgeous, deeply probing work by the East L.A. band that's made nary a false move in its 40-plus year lifetime. Viva Los Lobos.

Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin, "Lost Time" (Yep Roc): Downey's sibling favorite-sons follow their earthy Grammy-nominated 2014 salute to blues man Big Bill Broonzy with a wider-reaching exploration and celebration of the roots music that influenced them growing up in Southern California. It's an inspired set, running a gamut from Oscar Brown Jr.'s haunting cautionary tale against excess titled "Mister Kicks" to James Brown's "Please Please Please."

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, "The Traveling Kind" (Nonesuch): A gorgeous reflection on life, hard-won wisdom and celebration from two longtime friends and musical collaborators.

Tom Russell, "The Rose of Roscrae" (Frontera): Masterful songwriter Russell enlists the help of friends and peers such as Joe Ely, David Olney, Eliza Gilkyson, Maura O'Connell and others over a staggering 52 tracks in an extraordinary piece of Americana with an expansive narrative and scope.

Article by: Randy Lewis for LA Times

Article available here







Tom Jones has always been better than the average music snob has been willing to acknowledge. Even when he was making his living as the greatest of all Las Vegas lounge lizards, he had craft, passion, and a desire to deliver for his audience that put his peers to shame. At the age of 75, he's not only singing with all the force, power, and authority he commanded in the '60s and '70s, but he's making the best and most ambitious recordings of his career. Long Lost Suitcase is Jones' third project with producer Ethan Johns, and like 2010's Praise & Blame and 2012's Spirit in the Room, it finds Jones digging into rootsy sounds that give him a chance to indulge his passion for blues, vintage gospel, and R&B. Jones is not a singer who has ever had much use for subtlety, and he performs con brio on these tunes, but when Jones goes big, he has the wisdom to do it for dramatic effect, and if he plays the emotions strong on an acoustic take of "He Was a Friend of Mine," he sells the song with sincerity and belief -- his voice still has the muscle and clarity to let him raise the rafters when he's of a mind.

Anyone who doubts Jones' abilities as a blues shouter needs only to turn up the raucous tear through "I Wish You Would" to get set straight, and Jones covers Gillian Welch ("Elvis Presley Blues"), The Rolling Stones("Factory Girl"), and Los Losbos ("Everybody Loves a Train") while bringing something very much his own to each of them. (Welch may have sung about how Elvis "shook it like a chorus girl," but Jones has the cojones to bring that bump and grind to life.) Balancing transparency and grit with a knowing sense of proportion, Long Lost Suitcase, like the two albums that preceded it, demonstrates Jones' enduring strength as a singer as well as a powerful late-career desire to make music that matters to himself, and it's a powerful and welcome effort from one of pop's most powerful vocalists. No man who can make a record this good needs to be thought of as a guilty pleasure.

Article written by: Mark Deming

Article available here


Tom Jones Proves Why He's a Classic at Apogee Studios



Is Tom Jones the poster boy for clean living? His just-released autobiography, Over the Top and Back, would suggest otherwise. But the state of his voice right now, at 75, is surely a testament to something, whether that's his healthier regimen now or some sort of preservation in amber back in his drinking days. To experience that robust an instrument in a small room -- as a couple hundred invitees did at a KCRW taping Wednesday night, witnessing one of the year’s best command performances -- is to get the kind of thrill you’d be hard-pressed to repeat short of Shirley Bassey showing up in your bedroom for a serenade.

Besides his book, Jones is promoting a simultaneously released album, Long Lost Suitcase, the third in a trilogy (so far) of back-to-his-roots projects. He’s a few years into the post-brass, cred-building phase of his career, so it was not a given that he’d supplement his newer and more cerebral or bluesier material with hits from his ‘60s heyday, especially at a public radio taping where everyone was just as happy hearing obscure Willie Nelson covers as “Delilah.” Lucky for the unpresuming KCRW crowd, he was also in the mood to put the thunder (and balls) back in “Thunderball.” Just looking at the calendar, you might have felt a little bit of suspense, wondering if he could still hit -- and reasonably sustain -- those high notes John Barry wrote for him back in 1965. Jones can, and will, even if you know he’d rather take us on a Welshman’s tour of Americana than travel back to swinging London.

A look at Jones’ setlist would seem to promise some whiplash, with the oldies maybe not being exact fits alongside the very olden gospel-blues of “Soul of a Man.” But the performer has put together a band that’s done a terrific job of rearranging the handful of frothy ‘60s classics to make them sound like they belong next to some fairly stark, come-to-Jesus material. Okay, it’s almost impossible to make “It’s Not Unusual” to sound like anything but a trifle, once you take away the horns. But all the more impressive that Jones can make what was once the climax of his show sound like an enjoyable B-side now amid the weightier stuff.

How weighty? Jones performed Gillian Welch’s “Elvis Presley Blues” as the follow-up to a mid-set interview with KCRW’s Anne Litt, in which he repeated his book’s anecdote about sharing bathroom facilities with Elvis and watching a trusted assistant pull up the King’s tight leather trousers. He admitted that jocularity wasn’t necessarily the best entrée into such a seriously intended tribute song. But as anyone who’s heard the Welch song before knows, there’s a lightness to it, too — how can there not be with lyrics that describe how Presley “shook it like a Harlem queen” — and Jones is just the singer to find the mixture of humor, tragedy, and glory in the tune. Hearing an actual contemporary and pal of Elvis belt out Welch’s previously modest song for all it’s worth, accompanied only by a tremolo guitar? On the new album, “Elvis Presley Blues” is a nice moment; in live performance, it was deeply moving and spectacular.

He matched that with a reading of Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song.” As a thousand hapless TV renditions of “Hallelujah” will attest, almost no one who interprets Cohen gets that at least a quarter of his lyrics are meant to be funny, or at the very least wry. Jones certainly does, as his innate wit and the knowing smirk during a couple of the early lines would attest. But there was one line Cohen meant as a gag that you could forgive Jones for taking completely seriously: “I was born like this, I had no choice/I was born with the gift of a golden voice.” Earlier, in conversation with Litt, Jones had talked about being singled out in chapel at 5 or 6 for trying to sing like Mahalia Jackson, and you realized: Yes, just as in the lyrics, Jones didn’t have much choice about his gifts or muses… regardless of whether the number of angels forcing him into this vocation was exactly Cohen’s 27. As he closed his eyes and smiled about the blessing or curse that forced his hand in life, filling the tiny room with its robustness and nuance, you couldn’t help but swoon.

There were earthier moments in the set, of course, and some of Jones’ contemporary blues updates could inspire underwear-tossing just as surely as the oldies. But it’s a very pleasant late-inning surprise that he can be so stirring on starker songs dealing with mortality and muses. It all goes to show: You can take the boy out of Vegas…. and you can take the Vegas out of the boy, too.

Jones’ performance and interview were taped for broadcast and streaming on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” show December 22.


Set list: Take My Love (I Want to Give It) Raise a Ruckus Opportunity to Cry Delilah If I Give My Soul Thunderball Elvis Presley Blues ‘Til My Back Ain’t Got No Bone Soul of a Man Strange Things Green Green Grass of Home I Wish You Would

Encore: It’s Not Unusual Tower of Song Don’t Knock Didn’t It Rain

Article by: Chris Willman for Billboard
Photograph: Larry Hirshowitz on behalf of KCRW
Article available here



Tom Jones - Long Lost Suitcase


Tom Jones has entered the era of his pop career during which he focuses on covers, flipping his way through the songbook and filtering the contents through his hip-swivel of a voice. Well, to be fair, he’s been riding on the “charisma and covers” plan for quite some time, making his return to the spotlight with 1999’s covers album, Reload, among others. While in other hands that kind of unoriginal goofiness can be shrug worthy at best or frustrating at worst, Jones’ guileless enthusiasm makes the whole exercise kind of charming. He seems to pick songs that he would either have a fun time singing or get some sort of spiritual kick out of, and then he does them. The same is certainly true of his latest album, Long Lost Suitcase.

The album comes as a companion to Jones’ new autobiography, Over the Top and Back, and accordingly explores an era of music that was very important for the Welsh singer’s development. Though he grew up thousands of miles away, Suitcase shows Jones’ love of American roots music, from Sonny Boy Williamson to Hank Williams Sr., from Willie Nelson to The Milk Carton Kids. For music obsessives of Jones’ age across the world, the American blues and folk traditions were major inspirations. That’s why he’s out there singing Gillian Welch’s “Elvis Presley Blues”: Everyone wanted to be Elvis.

And while everyone wanted to be Elvis, Jones actually wound up getting pretty close. Hear me out: I’m not talking necessarily about the magnitude of his fame, the legendary nature of his career — though he certainly is a megastar, and a legend at that — but rather the undeniable, magnetic presence that drives audiences wild, a performer in the truest sense of the word. The excess of charm that oozes out of his vocal performances is the driving factor of his career, so it doesn’t really matter that this is his third straight album of covers — at their best, they’re just as charming as brand-new tracks.

Throughout, Jones’ voice carries the appropriate level of warmth that you’d expect from any old west showman, the kind of guy who’s been wandering the world’s dusty roads for decades now. He tones down the “Sex Bomb” side of his persona, in favor of a more molasses-y comfort; there won’t be many pairs of underpants thrown on the proverbial stage after his low-swinging take on Willie Nelson’s “Opportunity to Cry”. The same goes for traditional folk song “He Was a Friend of Mine”, a guitar twang giving space for Jones to mourn lost comrades. “Every time I think about him now, I just can’t keep from crying,” Jones sings, and considering the two became friends and the inclusion of Welch’s song about Elvis’ death, it’s hard not to imagine that he’s at least in part singing about the King. It’s no surprise that those two tracks, then, are his most engaging performances.

While the Rolling Stones might seem like a strange choice for an Americana record, his version of “Factory Girl” fits here because it reels off in a familiar bluegrass twang. Many might look at “Bring It on Home” as a Led Zeppelin tune, making its inclusion similarly strange, but it too digs deeper than those British origins — the track has blues roots, recorded years prior by Sonny Boy Williamson. The Stones and Zep were inspired by the same R&B and blues performers that Jones was. On Suitcase, he ties them all up in his own beguiling grin.

This music clearly means so much to Jones; some of these very song titles were used as chapter titles in his autobiography, after all, defining moments in his life. He unifies jazz guitarist Lonnie Johnson and Los Lobos in a single album because to him they are all tied to his musical life story. As such, some of the songs’ differences are sanded down, all glossed together in ultra-professional production. Whether these songs are as important to you as they are to Jones or not, you’ll find his tribute heartwarming, charming, and passionate — much like the singer himself.

Essential Tracks: “Elvis Presley Blues”, “He Was a Friend of Mine”


Article by: Adam Kivel for Consequence of Sound

Review: Tom Jones & Rob Brydon - One Big Night Read


There was only ever one embarrassing feature of Tom Jones on the panel of The Voice: the times when the judges sang and the international superstar showed them up for being the inferior artists they undoubtedly are.

One can only hope that the people who made the ludicrous decision to drop him were squirming in their seats every time the great Welshman opened his mouth during One Big Night for Children In Need.

Hosted by comedian and actor Rob Brydon, this was a 90-minute treat of sublime vocal talent and sharp wit – a bit like The X Factor used to be before it tore out its own innards.

It was the double act of Tom Jones and Rob Brydon that left the most lasting impression on Tom Jones & Rob Brydon: One Big Night

The entertainment was interspersed with moving films of children who have suffered a rough deal in life, and we were encouraged to donate.

It was the double act of Jones and Brydon that left the most lasting impression, though.

It’s not the first time they have paired up.

Check out their head to head for the promotion of Jones’s album, Spirit In The Room; it’s eye wateringly funny.

It wasn’t just the obviousness of Jones’s talent as a solo artist that thrilled; a montage of duets with many artists was another reminder of the insanity of his departure from The Voice.

Brydon also joined him in a few, and their rendition of Smile was one of the best deliveries of my favourite song I have ever heard. Brydon can really sing, by the way, and was never less than riveting the whole night.

A film of children passing judgment on Jones’s appearance and dance movements of yesteryear was delightful.

One thought he was like Elvis; another identified him as Simon Cowell. A few thought he looked like Michael Jackson. ‘I think he likes the girls,’ said one lad.

At the top of the show, a sketch set in a Job Centre saw Brydon dealing with the latest CV to land on his desk – ‘a 75 year old male just made redundant.’

Towards the end, when Jones delivered the most breathtakingly beautiful rendition of What Good Am I?, it was obvious – as if anyone needed reminding – that he is far from redundant in an industry that needs a talent like his more than ever.

Article by: Jaci Stephens for The Daily Mail

Photograph: Guy Levy, BBC

Review: Bluesfest (Tom Jones & Van Morrisson), London O2 Arena

Legends Tom Jones and Van Morrison joined forces to close Prudential’s three day BluesFest at the O2 Arena on Sunday night. Having known each other since 1965 but having never sung together live, this was a highly anticipated closing show. And what a strangely brilliant show it was.

Dressed in his signature trilby hat, sunglasses and suit, Van Morrison kicked things off with a saxophone solo and went straight into ‘Close Enough for Jazz’. The more upbeat ‘Precious Time’ got the crowd going and Morrison brought out the harmonica for ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’. Highlights include a soulful cover of Ray Charles’ ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ and ‘Days Like This’.

After an hour, he invited Tom Jones to join him onstage. Tom Jones is more of a showman, with Morrison having not little to the crowd throughout his solo performance, not even giving an introduction. With wonderful covers of ‘Sticks & Stones’ by Ray Charles, ‘What Am I Living For?’ by Chuck Willis, ‘The Lonesome Road’ by Gene Austin and Morrison’s ‘I’m Not Feeling It Anymore’, their voices bellowed like a match made in Blues heaven. They are two very different characters with a great chemistry, even having a bit of a sing off, seeing who could reach the lowest notes.

There were a few moments where they seemed to sing each others parts and did not seem to know what they were doing but that can also be seen to be the beauty of them having a simple set, just focussing on the hits they love most and being spontaneous.

After the interval. Tom Jones went into ‘Burning Hell’. There was a lot of Elvis influence throughout the night. Jones introduced ‘Run On’ as one of Elvis’ favourite tracks to sing to and proclaiming Elvis’ love of gospel music. He also covered ‘Elvis Presley Blues’, a dark and poignant cover that left the crowd speechless before going into a beautiful cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Tower of Song’.

“It was like having an insight into what an evening at home with the two icons would be like”

Jones sang many tracks from his new album ‘Long Lost Suitcase’, tracing back his roots including a cover of Eddie Floyd’s ‘Til My Back Ain’t Got No Bone’, an instant hit as well as country-esque ‘Raise a Ruckus’.

Jones’ set included blues renditions of his own hits ‘Sex Bomb’ and the 50 year old ‘Not Unusual’. The entire set was not very ‘hit heavy’ with Morrison not singing ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ or ‘Moondance’ and Jones leaving out ‘Delilah’, ‘She’s a Lady’ and ‘Burning Down the House’. But then again, there are only so many hits you can fit into one show.

Jones’ then brought Morrison back onto stage. It was like having an insight into what an evening at home with the two icons would be like, imagining them sitting in a recording studio hearing them natter away like old school friends. They were telling stories about the ‘dodgy gangters’ they have come across and how they do not do drugs or drink, only spill drinks due to old age (they have a combined age of 145). Jones’ sense of humour and cheekiness is still apparent.

The spontaneity continued as they were asking each other what to play next, nearly forgetting to play ‘Sometimes We Cry’, a song which they have recorded together for Jones’ 1999 Reload album: a tearjerker for some.

It was a great end to the BluesFest with two of the genres most distinctive voices and influencers coming together to cover a wide range of tracks. Their age is not something that even comes to mind and it was great to see them being celebrated. With vocals like theirs, they seem to make anything work, even with what seemed like little practice.

Article By: Nellie Khossousi

Image:  Nick Webb via Flickr

Available here:

Review: Tom Jones and Van Morrison' at the o2, 8th November 2015
Someone screwed up at the Prudential BluesFest. You'd think a twofer gig featuring Van Morrison and Tom Jones, musicians with hundreds of millions records sold between them over the last 50 years, would be an easy sell. Apparently not; whether it be a failure of marketing, pricing or simply that there wasn't as much audience overlap between the two as anticipated.
Whatever the reason, there was a gargantuan queue snaking its way around the o2 hungry for freely distributed comp tickets. I'd snaffled one up myself, figuring that while I'd never go out of my way to attend a Tom Jones or Van Morrison gig, it sure beats sitting at home doing nothing.
So that's how I found myself squeezed into the vertigo inducing fourth tier of the o2 Arena watching men with a combined age of 145 plough their way through two idiosyncratic setlists. The nosebleed seat I was given was as far away from the action as you're able to get: 'Row U, Seat 835'. From my lofty vantage point the stage was maybe a kilometre away - even the jumbotron video screens were difficult to make out.
This hangar-like performance space is generally best suited to theatrical pop spectacles with huge props, big costumes and thumping great basslines. Sadly, this meant that Van Morrison (who I saw and enjoyed at Glastonbury in 2005) was less than thrilling. Within the vast space his band sounded reedy and muted, with Van himself cutting an indistinct figure in the centre of it all. As he meandered his way through a setlist of samey sounding R&B muzak, attention began to wane.
I suspect I'd be more positive if I'd seen this exact gig in a more intimate setting. There you'd be able to see the band truly at work and piece together the jigsaw of each musical interaction, and properly watch how Morrison's style as band leader dictates pace and mood. All that was lost in the cavernous emptiness between performer and audience, resulting in a disappointingly impersonal and bland experience.
It was at about the halfway point that an early tube home started to seem attractive. By now, Tom Jones had even joined Morrison on stage for a couple of not-particularly-inspiring duets - if this was to be the peak of the night then....
But, curious to what Jones' act is like after more than fifty years in the business, I stuck around. I'm glad I did. Tom Jones has apparently reached the 'Johnny Cash' stage in his career: his age, rumbling voice and onstage making him an unlikely harbinger of old-school-Christian apocalyptic Judgement Day drama.
Opening with Burning Hell, followed swiftly by God's Gonna Cut You Down and 'Til My Back Ain't Got No Bone, the setlist swiftly transforms the hitherto harmless crooner into an ominous omen of doom. He's helped by a band firmly locked into down-at-heel doom rock, the chugging, hypnotic guitar riffs sounding like they're chiming in the four horsemen and a lighting design that covers the stage in sickly low-lit neon - a faux draped curtain backdrop making things look all Twin Peaks red-roomsy.
And this is Tom Jones! Lovely, huggable, reality TV crooner, national institute Sir Tom "Granny's bit of rough" Jones! He seems to take pleasure in playing against type, taking advantage of the opportunity to headline a highbrow Blues festival and largely skip over the expected hits. Granted, he reverts to his usual gregarious personality between songs, but his faintly aged but still powerfully sonorous voice fuels an intense set that even manages to  partially redeem Sex Bomb.
The highlight is a cover of Leonard Cohen's Tower of Song. Watching Jones perform you feel like you're participating in a chain of musical history. Leaving aside Jones' iconic songs, he's associated with the best and brightest - from Presley to Portishead. Tower of Song cements him in this company, feeling like it's been written for him to solemnly boom out lyrics like:
"I was born like this, I had no choice I was born with the gift of a golden voice And twenty-seven angels from the Great Beyond They tied me to this table right here in the Tower of Song"
It's a neat bit of self-mythologising, painting Jones as passenger to his prodigious vocal talents - managing to both humanise and deify him all at once. It's such a shivers up the spine moment that following it with It's Not Unusual comes across as a little cheap. I'm not going to deny that I didn't have fun watching him work through his signature tune, but switching gears into this crowdpleaser immediately dissipated all the atmosphere he'd painstakingly built throughout the set.  Oh well, the audience seemed happy.
This marks the end of his solo set, after which he's rejoined by Van Morrison for a couple more iffy duets. By this point they look like they're having fun, but it proves to be a rather anti-climactic end to the evening, with the audience steadily leaking out into the drizzly London night.
Van Morrison I can take or leave, but I don't think he's best suited to a venue of this size. Conversely, Tom Jones more than fills it, delivering a portentous musical performance that's refreshingly (and surprisingly) low on cheese. Top stuff, Tom.

Fan Review - Alte Oper, Frankfurt - 26th June 2015

Fan Review by Esther Trost First, let me start off by saying the concert at Alte Oper was my fourth Tom Jones concert overall. The first two concerts were in 2002 (Munich and Ludwigshafen) and the third last year at Rockhall Luxembourg.

I still remember my first, real notice of Tom: 1994 on MTV with ‘If I Only Knew’. 21 years ago I was 14. It is kind of funny that I’m still not perceived as the ‘target audience’ but after this concert I can safely say: I was then, I am now and I probably will always be.

I did have the luck to broaden my perspective on Tom Jones in later years (after ‘The Lead and How To Swing It’ and ‘Reload’) by joining a then, very active mailing list on Tom Jones and by that I came to love the then not so contemporary songs. Some of them will always be very dear to me so the current set list of songs is in my personal opinion: perfect. It combines the past, the present and hopefully the future.

Now on to the actual concert review:

The Alte Oper in Frankfurt is a really beautiful classic venue - a place that seems like it is made for a Tom Jones concert. At 8pm and on time, the band came to the stage and started off with 'Burning Hell', great song for the entry of Tom to the stage. With flames on the background screens it set the mood for the audience: music on fire.

Afterwards: 'Mama Told Me Not To Come’, ‘Didn’t It Rain’ and ‘Don’t knock’.

The next song 'Tomorrow Night' is absolutely one of my new favorites. It was part of last years Luxembourg show, as well and I still remember that it only took a few chords to pull me in. It’s so beautiful and hearing it you think that it could be a classic Tom Jones song. I love it.

Next on ‘Why Don’t You Love Me‘ - to which most of the audience would agree: we still do.

Another favorite: 'Raise A Ruckus'. Very fun song that works perfectly with Tom's current band. It makes you want to stand up and dance.

Not slowing down the next song on the itinerary is ‘Sexbomb‘ - the songs arrangement with Tom’s current band is quite different than the original song, but it suits the song, the band and the current era of Tom Jones so much better. Watching Tom and the band on stage, playing off each other so well, having fun - I know I sound like a record on repeat: perfect. You get the feeling that they really enjoy what they do and it transports to the audience right from the start.

Next songs: ‘St. James Infirmary Blues’ and a song Tom has owned from the early years ‘I’ll Never Fall In Love Again’ — followed by 'Shake A Hand’, which is another favorite of mine on the current set list.

Then it is time for another classic: ‘Delilah’ and afterwards ‘Elvis Presley Blues’ and ‘Soul Of A Man’.

Now onto a song I will never get tired of hearing: ‘Tower Of Song’. Even before hearing Tom’s personal opinion on that song, that it is the song he wishes he had written - I remember thinking it is his. I did know it isn’t but… it is. It is unbelievably beautiful and fitting. Sadly it also makes me think about a time when at some point I won’t hear it again live - I dread that moment and I wish it to be in a very distant future. It makes me want to stop time and hold on to the moment.

The set moves forward with another three Tom classics: ‘Green, Green Grass Of Home’, ‘It’s Not Unusual’ (the one song to listen to, when you are down, because you can’t listen to it without being happy – really, try it) and ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’. I probably shouldn’t enjoy that song as much as I do, but…I do. I have often wondered why Tom Jones has the magnetic pull of Tom Jones even to this day - I don’t know the answer yet, but his mix of presence, the obvious ability to not take himself to seriously, but still performing his more emotional songs with unbelievable earnest - one can’t help to be pulled in.

The following song obviously makes me happy, as it started my history on Tom. ‘If I Only Knew’. Honestly? Just keep singing, Tom. THAT makes me love you.

The next two songs ‘Crazy bout An Automobile (every woman I know)/Reelin’ And Rockin’ and ‘I Wish I Would’ end the set with a great send of by the band. It’s so good, that you almost don’t notice Tom leaving the stage…almost.

Loud cheering ensues and we wait for an encore.

We get it - with ‘Thunderball’, ‘Kiss’ and ‘Strange Things’. The concert ends with Tom introducing his wonderful band. Although he may be my main attraction, I hope that this band stays with him for the future - I don’t think there is anything I would wish to be different. Great musicians, wonderful arrangements and so much fun to watch: Thank you, Tom and Band.

Lastly, I’m writing this review on tuesday after the Munich show. After Frankfurt I decided that I can’t wait to see another show, so I booked a ticket for Tom at Tollwood and to make a long story short: I’m so happy I did. Really - the trip was totally worth it, so thank you again, Tom and Band. Two hours of literally blissful happiness.

If there was another chance I guess I’d take that, too. Hook, Line, Sinker. :)


Burning Hell, Mama Told Me Not To Come, Didn't It Rain, Don't Knock, Tomorrow Night, Why Don't You Love Me, Raise The Ruckus, Sexbomb, St. James Infirmary Blues, I'll Never Fall In Love Again, Shake A Hand, Delilah, Elvis Presley Blues, Soul Of A Man, Tower Of Song, Green, Green Grass Of Home, It's Not Unusual, You Can Leave Your Hat On, If I Only Knew, Crazy 'bout An Automobile (Every Woman I Know) / Reelin' And Rockin, I Wish I Would


Thunderball, Kiss, Strange Things

British Summer Time, Hyde Park **** Review - The Times

51-v1AbOBnL._SL500_AA300_Bringing the curtain down on ten days of British Summer Time shows in Hyde Park, Tom Jones stepped on to the Great Oak Stage and set it alight. Already bathed in evening sunlight, the backdrop was transformed into a flaming inferno as he began with a rocked-up version of John Lee Hooker’s Burning Hell. “When I die, where will I go?” Jones sang, his big, throaty voice accompanied to begin with by only two guitarists and a drummer. It sounded more White Stripes than What’s New Pussycat?. He returned to this gospel-blues theme later in the set with a propulsive version of Howlin’ Wolf’s Evil, a song that Jones recorded in 2012 with Jack White.

Mommes and murders as Tom Jones soars in Tel Aviv - The miner’s son from Wales invokes his fictional Yiddishe heritage, rocks, rolls, raps and rabble-rouses, on a high-energy return visit to Israel

Tom Jones is a miner’s son from Glamorgan in South Wales. His mother Freda, who died 10 years ago, was born in Wales, and so were her mother and father before her. Yiddishe, in short, Sir Tom is not. But you wouldn’t have known it in Tel Aviv on Monday, when the 73-year-old indomitable, and unclassifiable, singer sent the lyrics to a song that’s a good few years older than he is booming through the cavernous Nokia Arena. He told the audience that his father Thomas taught him “My Yiddishe Momme” when he was a kid. And he sang it with so much conviction that no one could doubt Freda Jones cared little “for fashion’s styles” and instead found her “jewels and pleasures… in her baby’s smiles.”

Conviction and demonstrable pleasure. “That is a beautiful song,” he mused in that lilting Welsh accent, when the last notes had faded away.

There had been the odd raised eyebrow, maybe even a little snigger, in the office when I mentioned where I was going Monday night. Me, with my exhaustive Dandy Warhols collection, off to hear a man at whom swooning middle-aged ladies used to throw their underwear?

But quite apart from my general “they come, we go” approach to artists who play in Israel, I knew Jones would be a blast, and he didn’t disappoint. He brought a bright, loud, 10-piece band along with him — including two guitarists, two female backing singers and a stellar horn section. He played a set that featured blues, rock ‘n’ roll, country, pop, funk, gospel, even (heaven help us) some minor rapping. He didn’t keep us waiting for hours, he didn’t end too soon, I’m pretty sure he didn’t mention the non-state entity next door, and he most certainly didn’t lip-synch.

Rather, he smiled throughout the hour-and-a-half long set, told us it had been “great” the last time he played here 15 years ago and “it’s still great now,” gave us some Shaloms and a L’chaim, and offered a lovable little bow at the end of each number like the old-fashioned gentleman entertainer that he is.

But if “there’s a mighty judgment coming” for him anytime soon, as he predicted in the co-opted Leonard Cohen number “Tower of Song,” Jones isn’t wearily awaiting it. He may have stopped dying his hair — it was “a different color” last time he was here, he said, self-deprecatingly admitting past vanities — but he looked fighting fit. He was waltzing during “What’s New Pussycat?” and wiggling the hips too. He offered a setlist that sampled vibrantly from six or seven decades. And he brought his belting baritone, that voice, intact. When Cohen delivers another great line in “Tower of Song,” about having been “born with the gift of a golden voice,” he’s being ironic. When Tom Jones sings it, he’s making a glorious declaration of gratitude.

I’ll acknowledge that Mrs. Reviewer and I, even in our advancing years, were among the younger members of the audience. I’ll admit that only a very few of the thousands who gathered for this second of Jones’s two Tel Aviv concerts got off their butts at any point in the proceedings to dance. And I’ll honestly report that the songs that went down best were the real oldies — “Green, Green Grass of Home,” “It’s Not Unusual” and “Delilah” — rather than the relative newies like “Sex Bomb” and “Kiss.”

But he gave even those ancient hits plenty of zest and drama. Who knew that “Delilah” was a tale of jealous murder? I’d certainly never listened to the lyrics before. (Though most of the folks around me plainly had, since they were singing along.) And who could begrudge him playing “It’s Not Unusual,” the song that Jones told us “started it” all for him in 1964? “When I was 10,” he lied.

At the end, after two encores, and having gathered that excellent band together at stage front for a group bow, Jones told the audience, “We’ve had a ball up here tonight, and we hope you did too.” He added, gently and sweetly, “So until next time, good night and God bless you.”

Yiddishe or not, his mother would have been kvelling.

By David Horovitz

You can read this review in full at The Times of Israel here