Tom Jones, "Long Lost Suitcase" (S-Curve)

This album continues Jones' late-life effort to show he's more than just the purveyor of cheerfully cheesy pop hits such as "Delilah." Working for the third time with producer Ethan Johns, the 75-year-old Welshman again comes across as an Americana master rather than a Vegas showman. The music is rootsy and organic. The stark country balladry of Willie Nelson's "Opportunity to Cry" rubs up against the exuberant hoedown of "Honey Honey" (a duet with spitfire Imelda May). A down-home take on the Rolling Stones' "Factory Girl" segues into the raucous electric blues of Billy Boy Arnold's "I Wish You Would," with Jones flashing some of that old brio. That kind of diversity continues throughout the set, with the singer also tackling numbers by Willie Dixon, Hank Williams and Los Lobos. Only Gillian Welch and David Rawlings' "Elvis Presley Blues" strains for effect because the arrangement is built on a pulsating riff that sounds uncharacteristically synthetic.

Nick Cristiano, Philadelphia Inquirer


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