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Praise & Blame - Tom Jones

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Genre: Folk - Welsh Folk / Artist: Tom Jones / Audio CD released 2010-07-26 at Universal / Island

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      06.09.2010 21:06
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      a great record.

      Tom Jones, Praise and Blame, 2010

      --------------------------------------------------------

      For those of you in the know, Tom Jones is one of the country's greatest ever vocalists, period. For those of you also in the know, Tom Jones is in the autumn of his career - that isn't an insult - it's just a mathematical fact. At 70 years old and with 39 studio albums under his belt, Jones is still producing quality music - and this is his first with new label Island.

      ----Opinion--------

      Praise and Blame is a raw record, very earthy and one that exemplifies the deep quality of Jones' voice. His voice is totally put to front of the recording with the rest of the instruments toned down and in the background. When the instruments are put to forefront they are incredibly simple and repetitive without any real flourish or complexity, which lends itself well to the rest of the album.

      So what is this album like? Well essentially its a gospel record that doesn't shy away from going 'all God' on us. Its what riled his record company who thought it was a joke that he was recording a big gospel record as opposed to another 'Reload' with songs like 'Sex Bomb'. What Jones actually has here is a much more relevant sounding album than anything he's done - well ever. An artistic statement that totally affirms his voice as one of the best ever.

      If you've heard recent albums from Johnny Cash and Robert Plant, you'll know that rock and pop stars of a certain vintage can produce quality and relevant work well into their older years- if they get the right producer and team behind them. Thats exactly what Jones has done here - and come up trumps with a record that plays to his strengths and at the age of 70 his voice sounds as good as it ever did. Its not a showbizzy album or full of pomposity - even Jones holds back from screaming and balling like he could do. Here he just sings from the heart.

      All the songs are great, but if I had to pick standout songs then they would be 'Strange Things' and 'Burning Hell' that both have great guitar hooks to them. The album also features Jones version of 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' made famous by Led Zeppelin in the 70's, but then reworked on their 'Unledded' album. Jones also does a great version of the Moby pilferred 'Run On' from his Play album. All songs are stripped down to their bare essentials with Jones' voice cutting throughout.

      Praise and Blame is definitely as good as Plant and Krauss' 'Raising Sand', the 'O Brother Where Art Thou' soundtrack and Johnny Cash's American records. This is how to grow old gracefully.

      ------Tracklist----------

      1. What Good Am I?
      2. Lord Help
      3. Did Trouble Me
      4. Strange Things
      5. Burning Hell
      6. If I Give My Soul
      7. Don't Knock
      8. Nobody's Fault But Mine
      9. Didn't It Rain
      10. Ain't No Grave
      11. Run On

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 What Good Am I?
      2 Lord Help
      3 Did Trouble Me
      4 Strange Things
      5 Burning hell
      6 If I Give My Soul
      7 Don't Knock
      8 Nobody's Fault But Mine
      9 Didn't It Rain
      10 Ain't No Grave
      11 Run On