Tom Jones: Praise & Blame 4* Guardian Review

51-v1AbOBnL._SL500_AA300_Michael Hann,,  Thursday 22 July 2010 23.30 BST

Tom Jones's 39th studio album sees him taking the Johnny Cash route: stripping away the showbiz fripperies and recording songs that are intended to capture the gravitas and depth of a man who has lived long and seen much. Indeed, Billy Joe Shaver's If I Give My Soul, which appears here, was also recorded by Cash for his American Recordings series. There are differences, though: few would suggest Jones is haunted by his past in the way Cash was. In fact, rarely has a man seemed less haunted. Still, it's a blistering album, at its best when Jones and his band – just guitar, bass and drums, with occasional organ and backing vocals in the style of the Jordanaires – cut loose: a version of John Lee Hooker's Burning Hell essays the dinosaur stomp of the White Stripes; Don't Knock matches the gospel message to kinetic rock'n'roll; Sister Rosetta Tharpe's Strange Things becomes a rockabilly shuffle. It's grand, and at last Jones the artist is the match of Jones the entertainer.

Read the review here