Tom Jones – “24 Hours” (2008)

November 25, 2008 at 11:00 am (Reviews & Articles)

Another review of the recent Tom Jones album – this comes from Chris Jones on the website (see link below), written Nov. 7, 2008. The album was released today in America…  

What goes around comes around. For the last twenty years the boyo from Pontypridd has been working with and covering the work of young bucks like EMF, The Art Of Noise, Prince, Catatonia, The Stereophonics, Robbie Williams etc etc, in a constant quest to re-tool his ‘sex bomb’ image for the 21st century. While an undoubtedly iconic white soul merchant, Tom’s past crimes against taste in embracing the Vegas lifestyle and treading a line between easy and full-on rock ‘n’ roll meant his sweaty entreatments would always have the faint air of parody: the dirty old uncle at the wedding, attempting to get on down with the kids. But now at the age of 68, Sir Thomas Jones Woodward, releases an album that utilises the zeitgeist production skills of L.A’s Future Cut to make him sound like, well…how he sounded back in the mid 60s. Yes, now that Ronson, Winehouse and Duffy have put ersatz soul back on the map, it seems that the hippest thing Tom can now do is sound like himself. For this reason alone 24 Hours is a winner.
Another reason the album succeeds is that, despite a few covers, the majority of the material on offer is co-written by Jones himself. While most of it never really breaks out of the kind of lounge soul that made him a star of the Saturday night variety all those years ago, the subject matter is a surprise. Family, friends and past mistakes are all addressed here. “Seasons,” a convincing southern soul simmerer looks back over a career filled with many wrong turns. But the key text here is “The Road,” a blue-eyed schmaltzer that pays tribute and apologises to Linda, his long-suffering wife of over 50 years. “I know I caused you pain/Left you shattered on the ground”. It’s the heartfelt sound of an ex-philanderer paying his dues at last, and it convinces. Later on “Never” he again re-affirms his love for her. Bless him.
In the cover versions corner he plays it fairly safe. Tommy James’ “I’m Alive” is the kind of material he would have belted out in the clubs in ’65, whereas Springsteen’s “The Hitter” is gritty enough to resist any messing other than turning it into an Otis-lite ballad. The only big mistake is “Sugar Daddy.” Written by Bono and The Edge, it portrays Tom as the worst kind of lecherous old geezer: bumping and grinding in a style most unbecoming of his age.
In the end, the Voice from the Valleys still rings true. At this age (and with a sizeable fortune to fall back on) there’s no reason why Jones should even get out of bed. To turn in an album this hungry at this age speaks volumes about his desire to prove that he’s still got it. And he has.

Chris Jones

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Richard Meltzer – “My Sergeant Pepper Trip” (1967)

November 25, 2008 at 7:45 am (Reviews & Articles, The Beatles)



This is definitely a trip alright. Written for Crawdaddy! magazine (published in the Sept./Oct. 1967 issue), Meltzer definitely had to be doing some serious acid when he wrote this. This is not a review of Sgt. Pepper, so much as (I’m assuming) an LSD trip he had while listening to the album. Then again, with Meltzer, who the hell knows.
But this was the kind of thing that made for “entertaining reading” amongst “heads” back in those psychedelic days of yore. Anyhow, make of it what you will…  

July 4, 1967

Roni far away

I feel like I just woke up on another planet, with 84 freak scenes two hours ago and 646 billion freak scenes ten minutes ago and 646 billion billion billion now.   b-i-l-l-i-o-n. Sgt. Pepper has more than 49 focal points, maybe even 50, or 242 million and five, and they’re all grabbing at you and you’re a big data freak taking it all in and it’s hard. And when you see it all you know there’s more and more. Why the hell does being in outer space have to be such a scientist trip or super-Aristotle trip? It’s an artist-as-technologist sort of thing and it’s the destruction of all art. No vantage point is ever any more arrogant than any other, no context of contexts comes around even momentarily anymore. Replacement of Tinguely the smiling with not Townshend thrower of smoke bombs (who sees the all and the one anyway) but with John*Lennon the super-Ringo and sub-Sam-the-Sham, or the guy who took pictures of John*Lennon in glasses three and ½ years ago. After Sgt. Pepper there is no public world and even no private one if you’re out in it, I mean all the way out in it. Who cares now if the paper toweling runs out today or tomorrow? Maybe I reached the absolute topmost top a few months ago and now all there is is wallowing in three years ago and then four years ago. I can see why Indiana and Warhol and Lichtenstein and etc. and Meltzer aged 18-19-20 had to do it and can’t anymore and why did Lennon have to do it; it sort of produces an everlasting can’t-anymore, a prior-can’t-anymore that soon will not even be voiced and explicit, but attached to all objects and all forms not because there’s any necessary connection but because everybody’s gonna be too tired and too aggressive to stop it from irrevocably happening. Doing will never be talking again unless it’s doing-talking or doing-as-talking or that sort of thing and hyphenated categorical salvations won’t work pretty soon, so who would want to ever bother with aesthetics unless he’s a Tolstoyan bridge-the-differences-of-man communicator or a clown with conceptual greasepaint living the played-out metaphor to the hilt?

It’s all over and it’s not a baby blue thing at all, cause the saints came though years ago: all that’s left to come through is regular-size grasshoppers and not with trick-photography enlargement either. Even the inconsistencies in any talking-as-talking thing are gonna be unnoticed (ignored) since resolving it requires a doing-thing and doing-things with ideas have to be actualized via doing-things and it’s a drag and sillier means Fuck History and Fuck Games-as-the-transcendence-of-the-whole-fuck-history-thing and Fuck isn’t even loosely metaphorical but a directive by the raunch epistemological scapula. But where is my raunch epistemological fist. I know I left it somewhere. Where is my last Clothing Store? And who is its proprietor? And will he remember, or bother to choose to forget, or bother to choose to remember (or bother to set up infinite conjunctions of memory/forgetting continua to keep relevant the fact that) wednesday follows Tuesday? Questions cease. For awhile anyway.  

Richard Meltzer

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