Daylight Throbbery

If you see me comin', better step aside
A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don't a-get you, then the left one will

Badass!  You want a spunky hunky brawling Welshman but weren’t quick enough to book 1537 for your Christmas party?  well, I’ve found another one for ya.  Tom Jones Green Green Grass Of Home; forget all those Beatle clones and Rolling Drones, this is the real sound of ’67, dig?

Poor Tom, with all his wealth, fame, fabulous gilded success, casino residencies and heart/pants-throbbery, just where did it all go wrong for this boy from the valleys?

Tom Jones was blessed with a full-on powerful baritone he sounded great as a blues shouter early on in his career and certainly had the engine to be a rocker.  Journeying to the promised land of the US, he allowed himself to be schmaltzed up and burnished a bit too much as his management positioned him as a crooner for a more mature audience when his initial impetus dipped.  Never a songwriter, he was reliant on the song choices he made/was offered with sadly variable results by the time 1967 rolled around. 

Green Green Grass Of Home contains a few real belters and a bunch of bollocks, it is undoubtedly a bit of a creature hailing from the strange hinterland before LPs weren’t considered entities in and of themselves, rather than just a collection of songs the artist had squeezed out during that session.  As a result there is little cohesion and no readily identifiable attempts at contriving a pace and drive to the LP, or too much thought given to sequencing here.  But hey, it is what it is, a long player designed for a mature mass market.

We are all about the positives here at 1537 and so let’s have them:

  • Riders In The Sky:  a rip-snorting take on a great tune, Jones gives it some real voltage without over-singing it*.
  • 16 Tons:  a coal-miner’s son himself, Jones gives this one something quite heartfelt in places.  Plus you have to love an ‘If you see me comin’, better step aside’ lyric, what a problem child.
  • Two Brothers:  I had no idea I was in the market for a civil war** anti-war weepie? again there is a lot of feeling on this one.
  • Green Grass Of Home:  the definitive version, one of only three songs I have ever sung at karaoke.  Yes it is a bit smooth, but worth it for that voice and his plummy tones during the speaking bit^.
  • Ring Of Fire:  just listen to that awesome funky guitar! I know he ain’t Cash but I love this for a bit of light relief. 

That’s as far as Green Green Grass Of Home and I can go for a stroll down Positivity Boulevard.  After that there is some schlock, some misjudged tunes (why do that to ‘Cool Water’?), some over singing and some stuff that just should not be.  With a voice and charisma as rich as Jones’ it should never have happened that way. 

Goddamn it, I love LPs laminated in Clarifoil!! Bring it back, I say.

Nobody can rock a checked sports jacket with the same aplomb as Tom does on the back cover and it is nice to see him looking like a normal tough, rather than as the strangely-hued 5lbs of sausage stuffed into a 2lb sausage-skin that we are presented with today.  Tom of course qualifies for 1537 bonus points for his casual legs akimbo stance on the front cover. 

So definitely one for the time capsule here.  Green Green Grass Of Home, tripped out front cover border aside, was about as far removed from the counter culture as most people actually were in 1967; which is fine.  So let us give praise for the good here and just remember to step aside, if you see me comin’. 

901 Down.

PS:  I actually picked this LP, out of the two Tom Jones LPs I own, to review as I am currently 567 pages through Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones – not knowing that it was the success of the excellent 1963 film of the book, that Tom Jones changed his name to Tom Jones to capitalise on.  I had just assumed like Cliff Richard, Lady Gaga, Madvillain and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Tom was just using his given name.

PPS:  Excellent book, by the way.

Stumbled across this which I REALLY like.

*something of a vice of his. 

**US style, it isn’t a Cavaliers vs. Roundheads number. 

^have I told you lately just how much I love speaking bits in songs?!!

24 thoughts on “Daylight Throbbery

  1. I have Delilah a month the records, proper Tom right there. I also really like Praise and Blame, but never really thought to pick up anything else.

  2. Had to swing over here and tell you i watched our buddy on a recent episode of ‘Soundstage’ out of Chicago last night. Absolutely fantastic. (My Gal threw her underwear at the TV) Allison Krause joined him for a few songs (did they have some chemistry). All I can say it was a night of great music. Tom certainly isn’t resting on his past. He dug out a couple old nuggets. They sounded fresh and new. But it’s his newer stuff that cooks for me. The band was out of this world.

    1. Awesome – I hope you threw your undies at the TV too. I do like the little bits I have heard of his new stuff, he seems to be relishing a chance to push his comfort zone a little and climb out of the cabaret pit.

      1. Totally. It’s not even the same thing. You mentioned before about his roots. He has surrounded himself with great players that don’t fit the “cabaret ” thing and they compliment each other. Can’t say how impressed and entertained I was. This isn’t some nostalgia gig, it’s fresh and stands up to anything I’ve heard lately.
        Don’t get me going on the “throwing” of the undergarments.

  3. Of course I had to read this and I’m thinking about his duet with Seasick and lo and behold. You never disappoint. I think if you and I could get it together we’d take Tom down to ‘Fat Possum Records’ and do some justice to Mr Jones.

  4. You told me Shakey was the greatest living Welshman! You can’t have two you know…

    Also “strangely-hued 5lbs of sausage stuffed into a 2lb sausage-skin” is probably the most erotic thing you’ve ever written.

    1. Haha, stop remembering things and using them against me … that’s wife tactics, that is!!

      I may have to branch out into erotic fiction then – it’s true though, isn’t it? that’s what he is now.

  5. Tom and Shirley Bassey were the soundtrack of much of my youth along with the Lennon/McCartney songbook, oh happy days. Delilah still brings a tear to my eye.

      1. Certificate is in the post. Just as soon as I can stop compulsively listening to Neil Young ‘Zuma’, which may not be any time real soon.

    1. I genuinely didn’t know he had taken his pro name from the film, until last night.

      I really like his greatest hits, It’s Not Unusual is a winner too.

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