Spin Doctor and the latest albums
More than unusual this week is the amount of information that has been floating around the ether about septuagenarian Welsh warbler Tom Jones. The veteran entertainer has just been announced as one of the headliners for next year’s Bluesfest in Byron Bay, but there is more, much more, imminent output from the graveltonsilled singer. Jones is about to release his autobiography, titled Over the Top and Back, which documents his journey from tough upbringing in a Welsh coalmining family through to his 1960s rise to pop stardom, the slump that followed in the 80s and the renaissance that has kept him in the public eye to the present day. “The thing that I was looking for,” Jones says of his fledgling career, “over and above anything else … the thing that I was getting and that was making me happiest, was the chance to be around cheerful and talented characters (musicians).” To coincide with the publication of Over the Top and Back on October 8, Jones is releasing his new album, Long Lost Suitcase, apparently a soundtrack to the book, on the following day. Much like his two previous albums Praise & Blame (2010) and Spirit in the Room (2012), Long Lost Suitcase is a tribute to some of the artists who have influenced him during a career spanning more than 50 years, with songs by Hank Williams ( Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used to Do), Sonny Boy Williamson ( Bring It Home) and contemporary artists such as Gillian Welch ( Elvis Presley Blues) and Milk Carton Kids ( Honey Honey). Some of the song titles are also chapter headings in the book. While we’re on Bluesfest, this week’s second announcement for the five-day celebration at Byron Bay next Easter included, alongside Jones, Jackson Browne, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, the Decemberists, Jason Isbell, Steve Earle and the Jukes, and Grace Potter, adding to a lineup that already boasts the National, City and Colour, and UB40. Great though that roster is, you’d be hard-pressed to get an authentic blues song out of any of them supposing they woke up one morning, their baby had done gone and the devil was waiting for them at the traffic lights. AC/DC isn’t exactly a blues band either but there’s no arguing that its brand of heavy rock ‘n’ roll is strongly influenced by it. The band’s upcoming Rock or Bust tour of Australia is only five weeks away and that too is causing a flurry of media activity. Among the reading material doing the rounds is an updated edition of Aussie journalist Murray Engleheart’s exhaustive history of the band, AC/DC: Maximum Rock & Roll. First published in 2006, the new version includes extra chapters on the illness that forced Malcolm Young to leave the band and the somewhat different circumstances surrounding drummer Phil Rudd that forced his exit last year. Not since a Tony Abbott briefing has there been quite such an abundance of national flannel flapping in the wind than when the Bay City Rollers announced their comeback at a press call in Glasgow this week. It was difficult to distinguish the tartan backdrop from the clothing Les McKeown, Alan Longmuir and Stuart “Woody” Wood were wearing as they revealed a new single and a reunion concert in the city in December. No word on an Australian visit so far.
Check ’em out ... Stuart Wood, Les McKeown and Alan Longmuir