Tom Jones – Praise & Blame (Expanded Edition)

With a new Tom Jones having dropped onto my doorstep (six years after his previous effort, which is far too long in my opinion considering the albums that went into making this this playlist were absolutely fantastic), I thought it was time to offer up a playlist of the great mans work. Now, Mr Jones has been a recording artist since 1964 and like any artist that has been recording as long as he has, there are going to be some duds in there with the gold. But what gold I would have had to choose from. His stellar A-Sides such as ‘Green, Grass of Home’, ‘Delilah’ and the immortal ‘It’s Not Unusual’. I could have looked deep cuts such as his first single ‘Chills & Fever’ or an overlooked B-Side such as ‘Looking Out My Window’ with a drum break that has been sampled numerous times. There was the resurrection of his career in the late 80s as well as the classic ‘Reload’ album for 1999. Even records from the wilderness years of the mid to late 70s have their nuggets included, but it is with the albums that Jones has released since 2010 that have inspired this playlist. 

2010 saw Jones leave the hair and beard dye at home, and come back with an album of blues and gospel songs called ‘Praise & Blame’ Before the album came out, David Sharpe, who was the Vice-President of Jones’ record label thought the album was a joke and wanted “to get my money back”. Showing that the people who run record labels don’t necessarily know a good thing when they hear it, the LP reached Number 2 in the UK album charts and make headway in other markets around the world. Jones seems to be in his element. The production is stripped back and it allows the songs to breath as well showing the power in Jones’ voice has not diminished over time. He followed this up this up with ‘Spirit In The Room’, which cast its net a bit wider when it came to the songs as this included material from his contemporaries such as Paul Simon, Paul McCartney and Leonard Cohen. A third album in this style followed in 2015 in the shape of ‘Long Lost Suitcase’ and it is from these three that this playlist comes from. I do hope we do not have to wait another six years for the next Tom Jones album.

  1. What Good Am I?
  2. Burning Hell
  3. Lord Help
  4. Take My Love (I Want To Give it)
  5. Honey, Honey (With Imelda May)
  6. Love & Blessings
  7. Soul Of A Man
  8. Elvis Presley Blues
  9. Did Trouble Me
  10. Opportunity To Cry
  11. He Was  A Friend of Mine
  12. Tower Of Song
  13. Run On
  14. Don’t Knock
  15. I Wish You Would
  16. Factory Girl
  17. Ain’t No Grave
  18. Didn’t It Rain
  19. All Blues Hail Mary
  20. If I Give My Soul
  21. Charlie Darwin
  22. Strange Things

I picked the title for this playlist as “Praise & Blame’ because it was a great cover and sums up perfectly the music contained within. The cover is the same as the original LP. 

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