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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, May 17th, 2021

Tom Jones: Surrounded By Time

Tom Jones
Surrounded By Time
(S-Curve Records)

Buy it at Amazon!

Sir Tom Jones has earned over a 100 million record sales, 36 Top 40 hits spanning five decades, and is in his 8th decade…and he’s not slowing down one bit on his latest, Surrounded By Time.

Picking a rich vein of covers here, he opens with a strong gospel-y read over Nick Pini’s bowed bass and producer Ethan Johns and Neil Cowley’s synth bed on “I Won’t Crumble.” Into the bleeping synth, tinkling piano soundscapes behind Jones’ still super strong vocals, we get “The Windmills Of Your Mind.” Neil Cowley’s piano is brilliant in this update of the classic.

“No Hole In My Head” has Jones’ biting the lyric more than he does with any other here with a sitar setting the groove. “Talking Reality Television Blues” sees drummer Jeremy Stacey laying down a sly shuffle as Jones talks us through the current state of the world, and that bowed bass and synth sound slip in again under an even more upfront Jones vocal on “I Won’t Lie.”

The band tackles The Waterboys on an organ-blaring, big snare snapping, acoustic guitar strummed “This Is The Sea,” one of the better tunes here, on an album of great songs.

Starting with a piece of a historical broadcast, Neil Cowley’s slow, sad piano chording on Bobby Cole’s “I’m Growing Old” presents Jones pondering his age through the brilliant, unexpected lyric. But there’s no time to wallow, as arpeggiating keys, effected guitar, splashy drums, and bass brings us back into the fight with Jones wrestling an almost Doors-sounding cover of Terry Callier’s “Lazarus Man.” Ethan Johns has lots of fun leading here. The album’s dozen tracks ends here, with an incredible job well done by Tom Jones and company.

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Tom Jones: Surrounded By Time