Tom Jones – Green, Green Grass of Home (Decca LK 4855 Mono) (1967)

In Mount Vernon, Ohio and it’s surroundings there were several member’s only drinking and gaming clubs.  These were often named for animals, e.g. the Elks Club, F.O.E. (Federal Order of Eagles), etc. A few blocks from my house, on the west end of the city, was the “Black” Elks Club; this was a place where the area’s African-Americans would gather.  Whenever I’d visit, my dad and I would be the only caucasians about and while I was aware of this fact at the time, I merely thought it was interesting. I was certainly always made to feel welcome. Most of the music at the Black Elks was made by black people, but the exception was Tom Jones and listening to this album, I can see how Jones was able to make inroads into the market.  His phrasing and timbre, at least at this stage in career, was not dissimilar to Levi Stubbs, his overtly stylised sexiness was quite urban and perhaps, as a proud, resentful minority citizen of his own country, Jones has a connection deeper to America’s blacks than, say, dilettantes and poseurs from Liverpool and London.

A mix of credible bellowed pop country (“He’ll Have to Go”, “Riders In the Sky”) on side one and credible bellowed proto-power balladry (“A Field of Yellow Daisies”, “[I Wish I Could] Say No To You”) and credible bellowed funk soul (“Ring of Fire” “Mohair Sam”) on side two, this was Tom Jones’ sixth album in two years. That’s how we rolled back in the day, y’see. A surprisingly enjoyable record.

I think this would have made a much better front cover.

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Published in: on June 10, 2011 at 10:45 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. When Jones was asked by an American interviewer whether he was at least partly black, he said “I come from a mining area, we’re all black when we come out of the ground. Have you heard his most recent album? Serious gospel blues.

  2. I appreciate that Jones has made a good career for himself, but with a couple exceptions I’m simply not that big a fan. I got this record because it was cheap, in excellent shape and I liked the cover. The fact that some of it actually grooves was a bonus. Prospective sale was also in my mind. In fact, it’s worth very little.


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