I've been with The Morning Express team for a few years now, and I can't think of any stories we've ever done involving singer Tom Jones. So it was unusual to be showing his latest music video on the show yesterday. In fact when I said I was a Tom Jones fan, one of our editors laughed in my face... right in the middle of the newsroom! Maybe because when you think of Tom Jones you think of his hit songs that go best with a wink-and-a-nod, like "What's New Pussycat?", "She's A Lady," "Sexbomb," and his cover of Prince's "Kiss."But his new album is a big step away from those types of brassy songs. "Praise & Blame" is a serious collection of stripped-down songs meant to capture the spirituality and depth of human emotion. There's a good mix of gospel, traditional country, and blues on the album. Also in the mix are a couple of up-tempo rockers, like "Lord Help" and "Don't Knock" that have a White Stripes-kind of sound to give them some edge.
But the album is at its best with the slower, more thoughtful songs. My favorite is his cover of Bob Dylan's "What Good Am I?" His voice is raw, but powerful, giving soul to the self-introspective lyrics.
I also liked "If I Give My Soul" which has an ethereal quality, along with direct confessional lyrics. It sounds like an attempt to do a U2-sounding song, and it works.
As I listened to the album, I kept thinking, for a man who turns 70 this year, his voice is amazingly strong. Hopefully that will mean more great records in the future and that he'll still be on the road doing the fun stuff he's known for.
Read the review here