“Praise and Blame” Is Tom Jones` Take On The American Songbook

July 27, 2010  
Filed under Music

Tom Jones` new gospel/soul album, Praise & Blame, is out today! Tom is 70, but his voice is still in tact. My take is it`s even better now; deeper, more smoky, resonating with hurt and experience. One good example is Tom`s rendition of Nobody`s Fault But Mine. The backing tracks are minimal, with drums, bass and guitar only. This leaves room for Tom to belt out the blues unimpeded. This is fantastic! It`s grassroots blues with a song originally done by Blind Willie Johnson in the late 1920s.

This is surprising, coming from a British singer whose reputation is forged from the mold of a torch/lounge singer. Ain`t No Grave was the title of Johnny Cash`s last album. Tom covers the song written by Claude Ely with gutsy gusto. Some of the songs are early rhythm and blues numbers, such as Run On. Run On was covered by Johnny Cash on his last album (before he died) and was done by Odetta in 1956.

The first track is a Bob Dylan song, What Good Am I? What Good Am I comes from Oh Mercy from 1989. Lord Help is more Chicago electric blues. After all is said and done, Did Trouble Me will probably be the hit on this Tom Jones` milestone of a record. Did Trouble Me was written by Susan Werner and could be categorized as Gospel.

I think you will be absolutely blown away by Praise & Blame! I believe it will be a big hit, especially here in the States. Tom can embrace Americana with a surprising sympathy and understanding for the American Experience. Especially considering that he is a Brit.

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