Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tom Jones rocks Letterman

Tom Jones is back with a new album, “Praise & Blame,” a collection of gospel and blues numbers.

It’s a stripped down, lean affair, thanks to producer Ethan Johns (Kings Of Leon), and it’s already being compared (favorably) to Rick Rubin’s work with Johnny Cash.

Jones and producer/guitarist Johns recorded the record with live sessions at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath, England with a small band that consisted of Johns on guitar, Jeremy Stacey on drums and Dave Bronze on bass. Guests include Booker T. Jones, BJ Cole and Gillian Welch.

Tom Jones – The making of Praise & Blame (2010)

At the age of 70, Jones is reinterpreting songs by Susan Werner, Bob Dylan and John Lee Hooker, as well as traditional repertoire from the works of The Staple Singers, Mahalia Jackson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

“Well, I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long time, and some of the albums I’ve done in the past, one or two tracks sometimes have been like this–stripped down,” Tom told the Huffington Post. “I’ve always liked that…not for all songs, but for songs of this nature especially. I feel you don’t need a lot on them musician-wise. I think this is the best way to approach it, for me anyway. And I think it shows the voice off, and you can hear the tonal quality of the vocals. We took a lot of time picking the keys to get them in the right keys. We wanted to do some of the slower songs low because my voice over the years has become lower and richer.”

Tom was no stranger to the material. “I used to do songs like this in Wales growing up,” he said. “If I went to Sunday school at 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon, to the Presbyterian Chapel, we did a lot of gospel hymns which I didn't realize was gospel until later on. Not as much as they do in the Southern states, but the songs are definitely there with the gospel element. For instance, when I was in Las Vegas with Elvis Presley--God bless him when he was still alive--we would hang out at night in his suite and we would sing mostly gospel songs because he loved gospel, and he would start to sing these songs and I would join in. He asked me, "How come you know these songs?" and I said, "Well, we sing them in Wales, not exactly as you do." Now I do, but not when I was a kid so much. But the songs were definitely there.”

Last night, Tom rocked a John Lee Hooker classic on Letterman’s show….check it out:

Praise Praise & Blame - Tom Jones

Tom Jones – Burning Hell
The Late Show with David Letterman – September 22, 2010