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Cashing in with the Joneses

July 26, 2010

So Tom Jones is reinventing himself as the new Johnny Cash and Ethan Jones as the new Rick Rubin. Praise & Blame, sees Sir Tom strip back the grand glitz and ostentatious swagger in favour of dust bowl honesty. Gone is the un-Godly dyed goatee and in comes the son of a Preacher Man. 

Somehow, Tom doesn’t quite pull off the magic and ragged soul of Johnny Cash’s American Recordings. The Man In Black’s later work always gave off a mystical air. They stand as stories of a man returning home to the American earth that forged him. Tom doesn’t quite have the same authenticity.

Still, would I have preferred an Ethan Jones produced album of Welsh Valley songs sung by Tom and backed by a Male Voice Choir? Perhaps cover art featuring Jonesy straddling the peaks of Snowdon?

Not as much.

For there’s something more to be said for the untamed spiritual backdrop that the American West provides. Not only does it provide an expedient new direction for artists hitting the twilight of their career, but it sounds bloody good whether sung by true originals or even Welsh pub singers.

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