Spin Doc­tor and the latest al­bums

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Iain Shed­den spin­doc@theaus­tralian,com.au

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

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