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Praise and Blame

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Length  38.08
Artist  Tom Jones
Producer  Ethan Johns
24 Hours (2008)  Praise & Blame (2010)
Release date  26 July 2010
Label  Island Records
Praise & Blame httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb4
Released  26 July 2010 (Release history)
Recorded  December 2009 Real World Studios, UK, Sunset Sound Recorders, Los Angeles.
Praise & Blame (2010)  Spirit in the Room (2012)
Genres  Blues, Rock music, Soul music, Rock and roll
Similar  Tom Jones albums, Soul music albums

Praise & Blame is the 39th studio album by Welsh musician Tom Jones, released 26 July 2010. The album was Jones’ first release with Island Records and was recorded in 2009 at the Real World Studios in England. Produced by Ethan Johns, Praise & Blame was made up of largely little known devotional and gospel covers, marking a departure from the pop-orientated style that had dominated Jones' recent recordings.

Contents

Critical response

Upon its release, Praise & Blame received generally positive reviews from most critics. Giving the album four stars, Andrew Perry in The Daily Telegraph claimed that the album was "by far Jones’ best album in two decades" and stated that "with its loose, spontaneous sound, and the all-pervasive sense of artistic rebirth…it’s a revelation." Similarly, Andy Gill in The Independent stated: "Overall, it's an extraordinary achievement: Praise & Blame represents the kind of reconnection with his core creative fire that was hinted on a few tracks of his last album, 24 Hours, but is here left naked and bleeding raw, bereft of showbiz blandishments.” Giving the album five stars, Gill labelled the album one of the best in Jones’ six decade long career.

The album's stripped down production and focus upon spiritual songs gained numerous comparisons to Johnny Cash's American series and Elvis Presley's 1968 comeback. Writing in American Songwriter, Rick Moore applauded the song selection and stated that "on this excellent collection of songs examining the human condition, Jones confronts the issues of heaven and hell in a way that Cash did for much of his life, especially toward the end of it… [Tom] Jones and [Ethan] Johns have made a real statement in the same way that Rubin, and of course T Bone Burnett, do almost every time they produce an album." Writing in The New York Times, Stephen Holden states that Jones’ vocal delivery "conveys the contrition of a sinner as he delivers a mixture of traditional spirituals and contemporary gospel songs tautly arranged for a small band. It is a respectful, expressively focused exploration of a genre beloved by Mr. Jones’s American counterpart, Elvis Presley."

The change of musical direction, together with stripped down, live production – much at odds with Jones’ traditional style – led Michael Hann in The Guardian to state "at last Jones the artist is the match of Jones the entertainer." Allison Stewart, writing in The Washington Post, stated that Praise & Blame is "Jones's "O Brother," "Raising Sand" and "Ain't No Grave" all rolled into one, a mixed bag of roots-related styles – blues, gospel-lite, country-folk, rockabilly, soul – stripped of all fat and reduced to the barest elements of voice and spartan, if often electrified, instrumentation. The song choices are impeccable, from a thunderous cover of Bob Dylan's "Oh Mercy" standout "What Good Am I?" to a holy roller redo of John Lee Hooker's "Burning Hell," all propelled by Jones's remarkable voice, still a marvel of quaveriness and bluster and sinew after all these years."

Personnel

  • Tom Jones – vocals
  • Ethan Johns – banjo, bass, guitar, percussion, producer, mellotron, omnichord, mixing
  • Booker T. Jones – piano, hammond B3
  • Mat Arnold – assistant engineer
  • Dave Bronze – bass guitar
  • Richard Causon – harmonium
  • B. J. Cole – guitar
  • Christopher – holland organ
  • Ian Jennings – bass guitar
  • Andy Kitchen – assistant engineer
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Augie Meyers – farfisa organ
  • Benmont Tench – piano
  • Billy Mims – assistant engineer
  • Dominic Monks – engineer, mixing
  • Henry Spinetti – drums
  • Jeremy Stacey – drums
  • Allison Pierce – backing vocalist
  • Louis Price – backing vocalist
  • David Rawlings – backing vocalist
  • Camilla Staveley-Taylor – backing vocalist
  • Emily Staveley-Taylor – backing vocalist
  • Jessica Staveley-Taylor – backing vocalist
  • Oren Waters – backing vocalist
  • Gillian Welch – backing vocalist
  • Terry Young – backing vocalist
  • Songs

    1What Good Am I?3:51
    2Lord Help3:42
    3Did Trouble Me4:15

    References

    Praise & Blame Wikipedia


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