It is genuinely golden, and at 75 years old Tom Jones’ singing is as deeply resonant as ever on this third in a trilogy really of his ‘roots’ [and contemporary] music where the power is entirely in the voice rather than any extra melodrama, as in early Jones, not that this was ever a problem, Delilah swinging on great arcs of such being rightly legendary.
A fine example here is the cover of Sonny Boys Williamson’s Bring it Home, Jones’ making the word baby the most meaningfully sung sound in the song. And as with the majority of tracks on this album, the background support is kept simple, though in that simplicity the guitar work here is atmospherically sparse.
The guitar is more to the fore and the funk on next when Jones oozes out Los Lobos’ Everybody Loves a Train, a version generating a mighty head of vocal steam. And then – wow – guitar reverb introduces the outstanding cover on the album, Gillian Welch’s Elvis Presley Blues, a song Tom performed recently on Jools’ TV programme. Sweet acoustic slide empathises with a lovely stripped-back performance of He Was a Friend of Mine, and one wonders at the many genuine greats, now gone, Jones can recall as having known when he sings this. The Rolling Stones’ Factory Girl gets a wonderful Celtic folk presentation.
Every track is an absolute knock-out.