New Tom Jones Album -'Surrounded By Time'
When your career is as varied as Tom Jones', by the time you get to be 80 years old you can basically do what you want.
From the sixties, hits such as Green, Green Grass of Home
through to You Can Leave Your Hat On
remain. But more recently he has collaborated with acts such as The Stereophonics, Chicane and Mousse T, the Welsh superstar has always had a knack of re-inventing himself.
I saw Sir Tom at the Lytham Festival. Instead of just rolling out the standard versions of his hits, he re-arranged many of them. Delilah
was reinvented as a Spanish flamenco number, Sex Bomb
was jazzed up whilst Green, Green Grass of Home
found a new home in country music.
On this new album Sir Tom gives his fans reinterpretations of songs that have inspired him, or mean a lot to him. His voice, now older, is as rich and deep as the Welsh valleys back in his homeland. It is not an uplifting listen: this is a man whose age and experience allow him to use key songs to divide his life into chapters.
The opening track I Won’t Crumble With You If You Fall
is better known as a gospel song, but here the track is just Jones and a sombre bass. The 1960s classic Windmills Of Your Mind
is in good hands here, his version doesn’t differ too much from the original.
The Bob Dylan track One More Cup of Coffee
is a brooding affair with Jones’ voice full of feeling. I always like other artists' versions of Dylan’s songs rather than the original version which is confirmed here as Jones makes the song his own.
The penultimate track on the album is I’m Growing Old
- a cover of the 1967 Bobby Cole song. For some it might be a depressing subject matter but here the song fits perfectly sung by a man of Jones' age.
A 9 minute version of Lazarus
, the Terry Callier song, closes the album with the song promising a re-birth.
The theme throughout seems to be the passing of time, though you may discover, when listening to this album, that the songs themselves are timeless.
I rate the album 4 out of 5.