Here’s where you’ll find TJ photos and stories that don’t fit into any other categories. It is, as its name says, just for fans â€” and, hopefully, for fun.Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
It’d be so nice if you’d join TJI in supporting one of our favorite “Friends Through Tom:”
Anyone who knows him still misses* Herman Matthews, the world’s best drummer. He’s still drumming, but he’s also making his old family recipe peanut brittle. It comes in five sizes (5, 8, 12, 16 and 24 ounces) and is always fresh and delicious. (I loved it and Susanne PDX – a major peanut brittle fan said Li’l Herman’s is the best she ever tasted.) The link is in the sidebar, bottom left. Even though it doesn’t play the drums, Herman’s brittle is as wonderful as he is. It’s very reasonably priced for handmade/homemade candy. Makes a great gift!
(*Gary Wallis is also a great drummer, too. But it’s Herman’s personality – his warmth and humor – that are missed by people fortunate enough to know him.)
SET YOUR DVR: If you missed Tom on Jools Holland’s show this week because it wasn’t announced in many places (including OFFICIAL Tom Jones for some reason) the show will be repeated on BBC2, Friday night at 23:50 (11:50 pm). You’ll see Tom sing Tower of Song and Traveling Shoes from Spirit In The Room accompanied by the wonderful piano of Jools Holland. He’ll be on BBC 1 with Graham Norton next week.
To watch Tom’s beautiful performance of Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song on Jools Holland’s show, please click here.Watching it performed live is so much better than even the very good video of the song.
Here is Tom singing Traveling Shoes.
Watching him respond to Jools Holland – his enjoyment of working with Jools – is an added pleasure.
There’s an article in The Express that manages to say how great Tom is (“TOM JONES’S A CLASS ACT”) while getting the name of the TV show he did wrong: (Gotta love those Brit tabs!) It is from Wednesday May 9,2012 and was written by Lizzie Catt with Lisa Higgins and Jack Teague (Imagine! Three writers and no proofreader!) Blethyn’s quote at the end is lovely:
HE HAS been a music superstar for nearly 50 years and is currently an expert judge on The Voice but Sir Tom Jones was a bundle of nerves when he recently made his acting debut in a TV drama.
He starred opposite award-winning actresses Alison Steadman and Brenda Blethyn in the Sky Playhouse drama King Of The Mods and Brenda recalls: “Tom had never acted before and was incredibly nervous. He just kept saying ‘sorry’ during the reading of the play and asking if he was doing right. We said he was doing fine and tried to reassure him and calm his nerves.”
She tells Yours magazine: “He’s a peach. He is such a gent and so down to earth. There’s nothing egotistical about him. It was so refreshing that someone who is a megastar is so lovely and amenable.”
REVIEWS: Please watch the video before you read the reviews!
In The Telegraph Rachel Ward gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars and said: “It’s not unusual to see Tom Jones on our TV screens at the moment. As one of the four coaches on the BBC’s popular talent show The Voice, he’s become a permanent weekend fixture, looking all dapper and having a ball on those spinning chairs. And now, like his friend Elvis Presley, he is trying his hand at acting, branching out at the ripe old age of 71.
“In the short three-hander King of the Teds — part of Sky Arts’ Playhouse Presents series of home-grown dramas — Jones played out a very different role. He was Ron, an embittered ex-Teddy Boy recently made redundant from his northern bottle-factory job.
“We got our first sight of Jones as he peered out from behind a copy of The Racing Post while sat at the kitchen table in his run-down terraced house. Dressed in a dowdy diamond-print cardigan and snapping at his long-standing and put-upon wife Tina (Alison Steadman), it was a tiny glimpse of how Sir Tom’s life might have panned out had he not gone on to superstardom (Jones used to work in a glass factory in his native Pontypridd and married his childhood sweetheart).
“The story was well formed and neatly unfolded as the couple received a surprise visit from their best friend from the fifties who had got in touch via Facebook. Nina (played by Brenda Blethyn) and Tina used to wear “way out pink” lipstick, matching sticky-out dresses, and walked out on the arms of local hero Ron.
“‘Eeeee, we were something else,’ they reminisced.
“Steadman and Blethyn were wonderful — their energetic jive scene in the living room a particular highlight — and although Jones made a credible debut, he occasionally looked awkward, which showed all the more alongside such accomplished actors. How Steadman managed to keep a straight face as he took her in his arms and upstairs to lay her on the bed and serenade her with Love Me Tender is just another testament to her unshakable talent, and maybe a tip for Tom that the green, green, grass isn’t always so lush on the other side.”
In The Independent Tom Sutcliffe said: “Tom Jones was apparently making his acting debut in Playhouse Presents: King of the Teds, helpfully cast as the kind of figure he might have ended up as if he’d never got his big break — a local hero reduced to painful memories of his glory days. Brenda Blethyn and Alison Steadman played his youthful sweethearts, one of whom had married him and the other of whom had spent her life regretting the fact that she never did.
“Jim Cartwright’s script didn’t really have the elbow-room to avoid coming across as a little trite. But Tom held up his corner of the triangle well and there was a nice echo of Nigel’s sorrows when Ron’s wife pulled an old drape jacket out of the wardrobe. “Keep meaning to chuck it,” she says. “Don’t you dare!” replies her friend. Careful, love — that kind of thing can easily get out of hand.
The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan trashed Tom’s performance saying unkind things seemingly for the sake of being a smart-ass: “I am assured, by several ladies older and wiser than myself, that Tom Jones was once possessed of a raw sexual magnetism that made Bryan Ferry look like Val Doonican. (We’ll just wait a few minutes, to allow our younger readers to away and Google. OK? Back now? Then on we go.) I can’t see it myself, mainly because the cruel hand of either fate or an ill-chosen plastic surgeon has given him the look of the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, but perhaps if I had the folk memory of his glory days, last night’s King of the Teds (Sky Arts) would have felt slightly more plausible.
“Then again, maybe not. Jones played the newly-redundant and emasculated Ron, husband of Tina (Alison Steadman) and former teddy boy who once held both her and her best friend Nina (Brenda Blethyn) in his thrall. Nina comes back for a visit after 40 years and the little terraced house in which her old friends live is soon filled with doubts, regrets and unlived dreams. The first half passes off nicely, thanks to Steadman and Blethyn, who could make you empathise with a cigarette packet if they put their minds to it, but after that it is revealed that Ron chased after the coach Nina took to London all those years ago when she found out Tina was pregnant, and Jones is required to do some Acting.
“And when it comes to Acting, well, Tom Jones is a very good singer. For the last 10 minutes, as Ron emerged in his old teddy boy suit, wordlessly announcing that he had chosen to stay with Tina rather than seize his long-delayed chance to run off with Nina, carried her up to bed and serenaded her with Love Me Tender, the whole thing took on the air of a Victoria Wood sketch gone horribly, horribly wrong.
“Still, it was quick and painful. And it was a chance to marvel anew at how very, very brilliant Blethyn and Steadman always, always are. If only the rest could have been silence.”