Tom Jones (70), singer of “Sex Bomb” and “What’s New Pussycat” has recently recorded an album called, Praise and Blame. Where he sings a variety of blues, country and gospel.
In a recent interview Jones had this to say: “Mr. Jones said he’s been a fan of what today is called roots music since he listened to the radio as a child in Trefforest, Wales. “We only had two channels: Home Service, which was news, and BBC Light. I wanted more gospel and blues because they didn’t play much of it—they had to play everything.
“When I first heard blues music,” Mr. Jones continued, “I didn’t realize it came from the hardship blacks were going through in America. It was the sound that got me—I didn’t know why or how. But the thing of it kept jumping out at me.”
Still, he’d long resisted the temptation to cover authentic gospel and blues. “My voice wouldn’t have been quite right 20, 25 years ago.” Now his voice is a smoky baritone. “It seems to me it’s more guttural now.”
He’s always enjoyed singing gospel among friends, including Elvis Presley, whom he knew when they both worked the Las Vegas Strip. Presley encouraged Mr. Jones to record a gospel album. On “Praise & Blame,” Mr. Jones covers “Run On,” a gospel standard Presley recorded.”