The Rolling Stones celebrate 50 years as a band, resting on their well earned laurels while British peer Tom Jones continues to reinvent himself with the edgy and soulful sequel to his successful 2010 release Praise and Blame (Island Records). What's New Pussycat?" and It's Not Unusual" seem as far away as the Hubble Telescope's deep space images. Jones, who mined much of the same American vernacular as the late Johnny Cash on his previous recording, spreads his musical net widely on Spirit in the Room to include Leonard Cohen ("Tower of Song"), Odetta ("Hit or Miss"} and Tom Waits ...read more
In his brilliant alternate reality novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union (HarperCollins, 2007), Michael Chabon has a fellow Jewish detective tell plot-protagonist Meyer Landsman that, it's a strange time to be a Jew." Apparently, it is a strange time to be a Christian also. In what time would it not be strange that 1960s Welsh sex symbol Tom Jones turns 70 and releases an album of American gospel and spirituals, one that is really quite excellent? These are strange times, indeed. Could we possibly be further from It's Not Unusual" and What's New, Pussycat"? Tom Jones never quit ...read more
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