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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

Su­perla­tives are still swirling around Aus­tralian venues fol­low­ing the re­cent visit of alt-coun­try troubadours Gil­lian Welch and Dave Rawl­ings, but it’s not just Aus­tralians who see some­thing spe­cial in the Nashville-based cou­ple. Last week Welsh vet­eran Tom Jones was in town (if you were in Syd­ney or Mel­bourne) spruik­ing his up­com­ing Aus­tralian tour, which takes in Blues­fest, as well as his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Over the Top and Back. It’s a pretty fine read, too, par­tic­u­larly the early chap­ters, in which the singer charts his rise from the work­ing men’s clubs of south Wales to his in­ti­tal suc­cess as a pop star in the 1960s. Jones’s ear­li­est in­spi­ra­tions were blues, coun­try, soul and rock ‘n’ roll per­form­ers, and he has given a nod to many of those artists on his past three al­bums, in­clud­ing last year’s Long Lost Suit­case, which fea­tures ma­te­rial by the Rolling Stones, Hank Wil­liams and Wil­lie Nelson. ”My heart has al­ways been in singing the blues and gospel and coun­try-flavoured stuff,” he told SD. “That’s what I was do­ing in the clubs in Wales. I was do­ing a lot of Lit­tle Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Pres­ley stuff. There’s blues in that mu­sic.” Which brings us to Welch. Also on Long Lost Suit­case there’s an in­trigu­ing ver­sion of Welch’s Elvis Pres­ley Blues, from the Time (the Reve­la­tor) al­bum, not a song or an artist one would have thought would be trou­bling Jones’s radar. The track is a stark read­ing of the song, fea­tur­ing only Jones’s voice and an eerie,

Tom Jones, in­spired by blues and roots

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