Many thanks to all who helped and listened. Read the full post here.
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Since 2005 this website has served as a gathering place and newsroom for fans of Tom Jones. Even though Sir Tom lives in the USA and, at the time the the site was created, was doing the majority of his appearances here, TJI.com was created in 2005 because at that time there were no US-based websites dedicated to Tom Jones, except a "fan club" site that only posts what the site managers find on his official site and, even that, is seldom updated.
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Watch Tom Jones At NonComm Convention — 47-Minute Concert On WXPN Radio, May 16, 2013 & A Short ReviewMay 21st, 2013
This video of Tom’s concert at WXPN, National Public Radio, in Philadelphia, will give those who couldn’t be there a fine sense of Tom’s four shows last week in the USA. He performed there as part of the annual NonComm Convention, an annual gathering of the non-profit public radio stations in the USA. Enjoy!!
OK, I thought the folks at Rolling Stoneknew their music. In the mass of on-target reviews they run, here’s a real off-target one, just 66 words. For some very good words from the same magazine, don’t forget the post below!
Spirit In The Room — Rounder
Sure, scoff at his overwrought way with a song. But Tom Jones has had more panties flung at him than you ever will. His latest is the sound of vet’s last lap, produced a la Johnny Cash’s American Songs. Covers of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits are good fits; elsewhere, his off the leash vibrato oversells. But the sense of mortality is palpable, and sometimes profound.
Now back in the UK, Sir Tom Jones left behind some very happy fans, many devoted newcomers to his music and many very impressed music critics/writers. This can only be good and, hopefully, the powers-that-be will realize it and book him again soon in the USA. Congratulations to all involved!!
The review below is positive but is absolutely wrong about the way Tom sings He Stopped Loving Her Today.
Singer pares down bombastic style on set of rootsy songs
By Michaelangelo Matos | May 20, 2013 11:10 AM ET | Rolling Stone
At 72, Tom Jones still sounds like Tom Jones – big as a sequoia, impossibly deep, occasionally full of ham. With a good four-piece band behind him, he was a startlingly vital presence on Saturday night during a 96-minute performance at the Bowery Ballroom – his first-ever appearance at the beloved New York venue. Not everything he did worked, but most of the time it did, thanks both to his born-entertainer’s instincts and a roots-friendly rethinking of his usual style.
Jones’s voice is so gigantic that it can seem like a put-on, and he’s always known it; part of his charm is the way he’ll play it up, often with a hoarse cackle at the end of a line, or between songs. But this is a good time for adult-leaning vocal interpreters from the rock generation, especially with atmospheric backing – see Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s Raising Sand, for starters. Jones’s new Spirit in the Room(Rounder), produced by Ethan Johns, isn’t the first time Jones has put together something of this nature – Johns also produced 2010′s gospel-leaning Praise & Blame – but it’s clearly a departure from his Vegas-identified norm.
It’s not quite a rebirth, though: Jones is a longstanding and devout fan of blues, rock, soul and country, something that has shone through even his most showbizzy stuff. “Green, Green Grass of Home,” which Jones recorded in 1966, came out during the encore in honor of his friend Jerry Lee Lewis; Jones explained that he’d once asked Lewis why he didn’t write more songs, prompting the reply, “That’s what killed Hank Williams, Tom.” For good measure, he finished the night completely with “At the End of the Road,” a tune actually written by Lewis.
A few things fell flat – notably, a tribute to the recently deceased George Jones, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (interestingly, the best part was the final verse – spoken in the original, which Jones sang, sounding comfortable for the only time in the song). His version of Tom Waits’ “Bad as Me” was mannered; the Joe Henry-penned “All Blues Hail Mary” is mannered before anybody sings it.
But the heart of the show was a number of blues songs with mortality close to the surface. Blind Willie Johnson’s “Soul of a Man,” mid-set, was pure swamp, making full use of Jones’ very thick timbre; he followed it with John Lee Hooker’s “Burning Hell” (from Praise & Blame), sounding less like Tom Jones in a devil costume than a guy who’d thought about some things. The same applied to “Run On,” which Johnny Cash recorded as “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.”
One thing Jones hasn’t left behind is his affable between-song banter. At one point, he joked that he was drinking “water – Grey Goose water.” He recalled first coming to New York “48 years ago. I thought, ‘How can that be? I’m only 35!’” And between “Soul of a Man” and “Burning Hell,” Jones was beginning to sweat. As he doffed his jacket, he threw out a quick chorus of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre.” He should do the whole thing, for real – with some swampy backing.
There were three shows, one radio concert and two brief TV appearances. It was what I choose to call a “tour-let,” not a full tour, but a small trip to a few places in an effort to promote the USA release of Spirit In The Room.
BTW, on amazon.com, the CD is #83 in Music, #8 in Music > Broadway & Vocalists, #8 in Music > Pop > Vocal Pop > General and #48 in Music > Rock. That’s excellent.
Once again, the setlist for these concerts was: Tower of Song, I Want To Go Home, Hit or Miss, Dimming of the Day, Lord Help, Bad As Me, Didn’t It Rain, All Blues Hail Mary, Soul of A Man, Burning Hell, What Good Am I?, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In), Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Strange Things, He Stopped Loving Her Today, One Night, Traveling Shoes, Run On, Don’t Knock Encore: If I Give My Soul, Green Green Grass of Home, End of the Road.
And, since these shows were received better n the US than any shows in the last decades anywhere, one can only hope that there will be more once he’s finished with The Voice. (And, of course, Las Vegas audiences — made up of people from around the earth — don’t demand just the hits.)
If you were able to see the shows or, perhaps, just listen to the radio concert (embedded in the post below), what did you think? Please share your experience.
If you’re seeing Tom tonight in New York, have a wonderful time!! Hope Philly was great last night.
You can listen to the full concert below.
Meanwhile, here’s the 22-song set list from the Troubadour Saturday night.
It’s worth noting, BTW, that Rolling Stone Magazine named the best clubs in the US. First on their list was the Bowery Ballroom. Second was the Troubadour. The bookers at Tom’s agency did a terrific job!
Tower of Song, I Want To Go Home, Hit or Miss, Dimming of the Day, Lord Help, Bad As Me, Didn’t It Rain, All Blues Hail Mary, Soul of A Man, Burning Hell, What Good Am I?, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In), Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Strange Things, He Stopped Loving Her Today, One Night, Traveling Shoes, Run On, Don’t Knock Encore: If I Give My Soul, Green Green Grass of Home, End of the Road
Listen to the full 47-minute concert here (audio only):
They Read About The Troubadour Concert In Wales; Tom Does An In-Person Radio Concert Today; A Review of The Troubadour SaturdayMay 16th, 2013
Tom Jones will be a featured guest at the WXPN radio Non-Comm Con today, Thursday, May 16 from 8:25 to 9:05 pm, Eastern Daylight Time. Non-Comm is an annual gathering of non-commercial radio stations held annually in Philadelphia. The concert will be streamed live at WPXN’s website. When I spoke with the ultra-nice people at the station, they said they weren’t sure if it would be archived for later listening. But, we’ll try to have it on TJI.
With a couple of small errors, reporter Nathan Bevan wrote about Tom’s Saturday show at the Troubadour. (Error: not just a “seater” venue. Mostly all standing.) And I didn’t exactly say all that’s attributed to me. Sorry. I’ll be writing an article about all this for a very large publication very soon.
Sir Tom Jones wows the US in ‘extraordinary performance’ at The Troubadour
The Welsh singing legend played a two-hour set in the 400-seater West Hollywood nightclub as part of a tour of small venues
WalesOnline.com By Nathan Bevan | May 15, 2013
For many fans it was an attempt at reliving his early days, and – if initial reports are to be believed – Sir Tom Jones’ current tour of tiny US venues has succeeded in doing just that.
The 72-year-old legend from Pontypridd seemed rejuvenated as he took to the stage last week for two packed nights at The Troubadour – a 400 capacity nightclub in West Hollywood famed for making the careers of rockers like Guns ‘n’Roses – turning back time to his fledgling years on the Valleys’ working men’s club circuit as he wowed fans with a blistering 22 song, two hour set.
Las Vegas journalist Ellen Sterling – who runs www.tomjonesintl.com , the online US fansite dedicated to the Welshman – made a 13 hour drive from Nevada to the West Coast of the States to attend the gig and called it an “extraordinary performance.”
“I should know too because I was counting the tickets stubs from all the previous Tom Jones shows I’ve been to over the years and they easily numbered in excess of 80,” laughed Sterling.
“I was about three or four feet from Tom the whole time and he looked great – really fit and lean – and sounded even better.
“And it was just him and four-piece band on stage, no backing singers at all. So his voice was right at the forefront, which is just how it should be.”
Eschewing the more kitschy elements of his back catalogue like What’s New Pussycat and It’s Not Unusual – although The Green, Green Grass Of Home still remained as obligatory as ever – Jones tore through a set-list heavily compiled from his more recent records, the rhythm and blues -led Praise And Blame and last year’s Spirit In The Room.
But Sterling conceded it was the audience’s reaction to this newer, more reflective material which proved the concert’s only negative point.
“Tom’s was performing Leonard Cohen’s Tower Of Song, which is a lovely tender confessional in which he sings lines like ‘my friends are gone and my hair is grey’, and they were whooping and hollering all the way through as though they were listening to Delilah or something,” she sighed.
“They just wouldn’t shut up and listen to the music. It was embarrassing.”
Also among the crowd, which consisted of Tom fans both young and old, were a number of famous faces, the most unlikely among them being showbiz controversy magnets Mel Gibson and Morrissey – the disgraced movie actor and the bequiffed indie big mouth both posing backstage for photographs with the Voice of the Valleys following the gig.
“Lord alone only knows what those three had to talk about,” laughed Sterling.
Presumably not Jones’ US album sales, given that the transatlantic chart stats for Spirit In The Room are, according to one industry insider, less than encouraging.
“The problem is that it took so long for Tom’s people to decide whether or not to release the LP on that side of the Atlantic that lots of his American fans bought it as a European import,” said the source.
“As a result, now that it’s got a domestic distribution deal over there they’re struggling to shift the amount of copies they’d hoped to.
“In fact, someone at Tom’s label – Rounder Records – described it’s performance as ‘a bit of a slow starter’.”
Ironically, Jones needn’t be too down-hearted as ticket demand for his current live dates are currently higher than ever, his upcoming show this weekend at New York’s Bowery Ballroom – a graffitied and grungy hall more better known for hosting knockabout noise merchants like The Dead Milkmen – having already sold out.
And Sterling added that Jones also needn’t worry about having to placate any punk-rock lovers who might turn up on the night.
“A friend of mine has already bought her tickets and will be flying from California especially to see him, and she’s in her 80s,” she smiled.
To read a review of Saturday’s show at the Troubadour, please click here to Read the rest of this entry »
It lasted a mere 5 minutes, 17 seconds, but Tom’s appearance on The View was wonderful. He was riveting, looking and sounding great (and performing my personal favorite SITR track, Tower of Song).
One viewer tweeted: “OMG … Tom Jones !! Where have you been?? Sounding Wonderful!!”
Only question: Why does he wear that schmata (scarf/rag) around his neck? Makes him look heavy and, even though it was raining in New York, it’s still May. That’s winter stuff. Please,Tom! take it off. You looked so fabulous without it at the Troubadour!
When I have time I’ll try to get the video up on youtube. Meantime, you can watch Tom’s performance in the TJI.com Video Library.
This photo and the caption are from AV Club.com.
The usually word-enthusiastic Morrissey posted a photo of himself smiling alongside Tom Jones and Mel Gibson yesterday, with no comment attached. Those who’ve followed Mel and Moz’s various rants over the years should be quick to make a connection between them: Mel has gone off on massively anti-Semitic rants, while Morrissey has referred to the Chinese as a “subspecies” because of their treatment of animals. Where does poor, innocent Tom Jones fit into this equation? Does the smooth Welshman even know who he’s standing with?
If you want to be appalled/amused, go to the link and scroll down to read the comments. They are awful. I posted them because of my feelings about Mel Gibson.
TMZ caught Mel Gibson and Tom Jones leaving the Troubadour Saturday night. You can watch video of that in the
TJI.com Video Library. (And, BTW, Harvey Levin, host of TMZ is a big Tom Jones fan.)
Video: Tom arriving at the famous Dan Tana’s restaurant (Mark is also visible) in LA.
A review of Tom’s concert at the Troubodour Saturday night with a set list is coming, hopefully by tomorrow. If you want episode 7 of The Voice UK email me. I will get them out in the next couple of days. I know I still owe some people the last ep, but it’s coming. Promise!
The View: Tom will be on. According to a source at the program “there will be a short interview and a song.” Note, Barbara Walters is announcing her retirement today and that may occupy a lot of talk tomorrow. Tom will be on, the source says, “toward the end.”
Here’s an article from New York Post, Sunday, May 12, by by Hardeep. The last question is typical NY Post (and UK tabloid) and it’s not necessary. Also, I am hoping Tom really doesn’t believe “I stopped playing Vegas shows for that reason because when you play there, it has to be the hits every night. That’s all they want, and you’re never breaking new ground.” No offense, Sir Tom, but that’s ridiculous! The audience at the Troubadour was much like that in Las Vegas — many ages, long-time fans and TJ virgins and — as you’ll read in my review — they behaved too often as if they were hearing the old hits. the audience in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, is getting younger each year. So, it’s wrong to say that about Las Vegas. (And, btw, though I live here, my heart’s in New York, so I don’t say good things about Las Vegas because I am biased.)
Keeping up with the Jones
It’s not unusual to hear Tom Jones singing, but now he’s covering indie bands
Tom Jones is embarking on a rare club tour of the US and playing the Bowery Ballroom on Saturday.
Are the songs you cover on “Spirit in the Room” just ones you enjoy, or was there more of a specific reason you decided to sing them?
There is a certain meaningfulness to these songs that applies to where I am in life right now. Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song,” particularly. That line “my friends are gone and my hair is gray” — I could have written that myself. A lot of the people I started with in the business are dead. It’s a fact of life but there you go — as long as I’m the last man standing!
There have been stories of you suffering from ill health in recent years. Have you recovered?
My health is great, thank God. A couple of years ago in Monte Carlo, I was dehydrated so I stayed in a hospital for a night. But it came out in the British press that I had a heart problem and that I was denying it. So then Jools Holland [a former member of Squeeze] called me up to check on me. He said, “The papers are saying that you are denying a heart problem.” I said, “I don’t have a heart problem.” And he replied, “There, you’re denying it again!”
Do you feel there’s a newer generation discovering your music?
Because I’m a coach on “The Voice UK,” there are a lot of younger people who have become aware of me. The idea behind this US tour is to try and see if there are younger fans over here who know about my work. I stopped playing Vegas shows for that reason because when you play there, it has to be the hits every night. That’s all they want, and you’re never breaking new ground.
What’s your experience of being a coach with Will.i.am on “The Voice UK”?
Will is a very learned person. He knows my history and he always wants to know more. For instance, I first came to America in 1965 on a Dick Clark caravan tour. Some of the acts were black on that tour and, although it wasn’t legal, there was still segregation in the South. We’d stop to get a sandwich and the white people would have to get off in one place and the black people would have to go to a separate place to eat. So one time, Will asked me, “What did that feel like?” I told him, “It felt f – - king terrible!”
Do you have a favorite memory of New York in that era?
I was in a restaurant called Jimmy Weston’s in 1968 and Frank Sinatra was pitching me a hotel in Vegas where the two of us, Elvis Presley and the Rat Pack would sing. It never came to pass, but I remember thinking how surreal it was. Just a few months before, I was sitting in my local [pub] in Wales, having a pint.
Your wife Linda must be incredibly patient to endure the extra-marital adventures you’ve had. Is that something you still do?
No, not at all. When you’re young and virile, you look at life a different way. A great thing about growing old is that sense of perspective. Another great thing about being a little older is that I sense people are interested in you for musical reasons more than anything else. Linda and I haven’t had a fight for years — but we had a few punch ups when we were young, for sure.
Apologies for the small post. Trying to get ready to travel and having computer issues.
Anyway, the brief appearance Tom did on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is in the TJI.com Video Library. (You may wish to turn up your volume when you watch it.)
The appearance on The View Tuesday may involve singing, but there will probably be an interview, too. Look forward to that.
If you’re seeing Tom this weekend, have a grand time! And, in the US and Australia, have a wonderful Mother’s Day!