He’s a buffoon that Tom Jones. Always has been. He started as the crap Elvis from Mid-Glamorgan and then became the dim guy’s Otis Redding moaning and shaking like mad. When the money went out of that he took to crooning for the middle-agers and cashed in at Vegas. Anyone who witnessed his comeback in the late-’80s will remember how creaky it felt. He mocked his sex-monster persona and he cruised the ironic chat shows. But hey, the man had some gusto and his version of Prince’s ‘Kiss’ was funny kinda.
Now after an indifferent Tom decade there’s this new LP. Loads of acts lining up to duet with the geezer including The Cardigans, The Pretenders, Barenaked Ladies, Portishead, and er, Mousse T. At least half of the contributors are acting like it’s a license to be silly. A few of them are aiming for great art. And somewhere in the middle is Mr. Jones; geeky, shouting, spectacularly lost. The centerpiece of this record is Tom’s performance of ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ with Robbie Williams his spiritual son. It is naturally enough a piece of supreme hackery as the Falstaff and Prince Hal of pop pretend that it’s the best fun ever. Here it is then, Uncle Tom’s cash-in.