Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Praise & Blame
"We wanted to go back to basics, go back to the source, it was just me singing live with a rhythm section - no overdubbing, no gimmicks, no complicated horn and string arrangements, just get the song down in an entire take... more »
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"We wanted to go back to basics, go back to the source, it was just me singing live with a rhythm section - no overdubbing, no gimmicks, no complicated horn and string arrangements, just get the song down in an entire take, capture the meaning of the song, its spirituality, its life, and capture that moment, right there. And I think that's what we've done," says Tom Jones, the veteran singer from Wales, who turns 70 this year and who has just completed `Praise and Blame', his follow up to 2008's acclaimed `24 Hours' and quite simply his finest work to date. It is a truly remarkable record, one that captures the Tom Jones who listened to Mahalia Jackson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe on the radio as a child growing up, who thought gospel music was "just like rock'n'roll, every bit as exciting but with deeper lyrics", the Tom Jones who belted out The Lord's Prayer as a jubilatory spiritual in school assembly, "because that was the only way I knew how to sing it, it was natural for me." This is Tom Jones going back to his roots on an album of gospel, blues, traditional and country songs, wearing his heart on his sleeve, emotionally raw and true. Recording with producer Ethan Johns (Kings Of Leon, Ray LaMontagne, Paolo Nutini, Laura Marling) at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in the little village of Box in Wiltshire, coaxed the most exhilarating performances out of the singer. With musicians including steel guitarist BJ Cole, keyboardist Booker T Jones (of Memphis soul legends Booker T and the MGs), Hammond organist Chris Holland and background vocalists Gillian Welch, Alison Pierce, Dave Rawlings and Orin Waters at hand, Tom has quite simply delivered his tour de force. It's him bearing his soul, singing from the heart, telling it like it is.
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A Tom Jones Masterpiece
pop culture icon | South Carolina | 07/27/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Praise and Blame" is Tom Jones's first gospel album. It is not a gospel album in the usual sense; it is more in the sense of a Buddy Miller or Bob Dylan gospel album (and the most apt comparison for this CD might well be Buddy Miller's "Universal United House of Prayer"). Speaking of Dylan, this set opens with a gorgeous rendition of Dylan's "What Good Am I?" Jones's take on this song rivals another wonderful version several years back by Solomon Burke. In addition to "What Good Am I?" we get a marvelous cover of Billy Joe Shaver's "If I Give My Soul" (taken at a slower tempo than the original Shaver version), Susan Werner's "Did Trouble Me" (a modern masterpiece), John Lee Hooker's "Burning Hell," and The Staple Singers' "Don't Knock." Adding to these more modern songs Jones also goes back to Rosetta Tharpe and Mahalia Jackson. The arrangements are appropriately and often hauntingly spare. It is amazing and pleasing to note how Jones's enormous musical gifts are still very much intact at 70 and after nearly a half-century of performing. "Praise and Blame" is among the four best albums of Jones's career. Any Tom Jones fan will have to have this CD in his collection. Fans of gosepl music and blues music should delight in it as well."
A STUNNING WORK FROM AN ARTIST TOO EASILY DISMISSED
G. Engler | The Frigid Northeast | 07/27/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
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."
Praise & Blame - Best of 2010, easily
Pixie | Chicagoland | 07/28/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Praise & Blames is a potent mix of retro blues and country and religion that rocks. The spare production enhances the tracks, Jones sounds fantastic and prepare to sit back and smile as you listen. Put aside any reservations based on his career as a 60's/70's lounge singer - Jones is a legend for a reason and infuses the up-tempo songs with a bit of spit and snarl lending it all the cred it needs. Slower songs are heartfelt and would make even a heathen think about his everlasting salvation. Stand out tracks are plentiful, but try 'Burning Hell' and 'Don't Knock.' If Tom Jones was a religion, I'd sign up. This record should be the next 'Raising Sand.'"