STYLE: Blues RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 95562-17215 LABEL: Island FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by George Luke
The last time I wrote about Tom Jones for Cross Rhythms, it wasn't actually about Tom himself, but a Christian singer who used to perform as a Tom Jones tribute act! Just thought I'd throw that out there. I never thought I'd be writing about the real Tom in CR, but life's unpredictable like that. Anyway, Tom has turned to the black gospel music that inspired him in his younger days for his inspiration for his latest album. Produced by Ethan Johns (Kings Of Leon, Paulo Nutini) and recorded partly at the RealWorld studios in Britain and partly in the USA, 'Praise And Blame' is a collection of old gospel songs and spirituals, steeped in blues with a folkie edge. The album's bound to attract comparisons to Johnny Cash's final recordings that Rick Rubin produced (especially since Tom has covered "Ain't No Grave", one of the songs Cash did with Rubin). Songs such as "Did Trouble Me" and "Lord Help The Poor And Needy" just ooze with raw, earthy emotion; when Tom repeatedly chants "Lord help the war-torn peoples" at the end of the latter song, it does sound like a really passionate prayer. Island Records' top brass may not have approved of Tom's "hymns album", but anyone who puts their preconceptions aside and listens to "Praise And Blame" with an open mind will find a collection of soul-stirring songs, sung with passion and warmth.
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