Praise & Blame

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Praise & Blame
Studio album by Tom Jones
Released 26 July 2010
(Release history)
Recorded December 2009
Real World Studios, UK, Sunset Sound Recorders, Los Angeles.[1]
Genre Blues, Soul, Rock n' Roll
Length 38.08
Label Lost Highway
Producer Ethan Johns
Tom Jones chronology
24 Hours
(2008)
Praise & Blame
(2010)
Spirit in the Room
(2012)

Praise & Blame is the 39th studio album by Welsh musician Tom Jones, released 26 July 2010.[2] The album was Jones’ first release with Island Records and was recorded in 2009 at the Real World Studios in England. Produced by Ethan Johns, Praise & Blame was made up of largely little known devotional and gospel covers, marking a departure from the pop-orientated style that had dominated Jones' recent recordings.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Upon its release, Praise & Blame received generally positive reviews from most critics.[3] Giving the album four stars, Andrew Perry in The Daily Telegraph claimed that the album was "by far Jones’ best album in two decades" and stated that "with its loose, spontaneous sound, and the all-pervasive sense of artistic rebirth…it’s a revelation."[4] Similarly, Andy Gill in The Independent stated: "Overall, it's an extraordinary achievement: Praise & Blame represents the kind of reconnection with his core creative fire that was hinted on a few tracks of his last album, 24 Hours, but is here left naked and bleeding raw, bereft of showbiz blandishments.” Giving the album five stars, Gill labelled the album one of the best in Jones’ six decade long career.[5]

The album's stripped down production and focus upon spiritual songs gained numerous comparisons to Johnny Cash's American series[6] and Elvis Presley's 1968 comeback.[4] Writing in American Songwriter, Rick Moore applauded the song selection and stated that "on this excellent collection of songs examining the human condition, Jones confronts the issues of heaven and hell in a way that Cash did for much of his life, especially toward the end of it… [Tom] Jones and [Ethan] Johns have made a real statement in the same way that Rubin, and of course T Bone Burnett, do almost every time they produce an album."[6] Writing in The New York Times, Stephen Holden states that Jones’ vocal delivery "conveys the contrition of a sinner as he delivers a mixture of traditional spirituals and contemporary gospel songs tautly arranged for a small band. It is a respectful, expressively focused exploration of a genre beloved by Mr. Jones’s American counterpart, Elvis Presley."[7]

The change of musical direction, together with stripped down, live production – much at odds with Jones’ traditional style – led Michael Hann in The Guardian to state "at last Jones the artist is the match of Jones the entertainer."[8] Allison Stewart, writing in The Washington Post, stated that Praise & Blame is "Jones's "O Brother," "Raising Sand" and "Ain't No Grave" all rolled into one, a mixed bag of roots-related styles – blues, gospel-lite, country-folk, rockabilly, soul – stripped of all fat and reduced to the barest elements of voice and spartan, if often electrified, instrumentation. The song choices are impeccable, from a thunderous cover of Bob Dylan's "Oh Mercy" standout "What Good Am I?" to a holy roller redo of John Lee Hooker's "Burning Hell," all propelled by Jones's remarkable voice, still a marvel of quaveriness and bluster and sinew after all these years."[9]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
American Songwriter 4/5 stars[6]
Billboard favourable[10]
The Daily Telegraph 4/5 stars[4]
Entertainment Weekly B+[11]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[8]
The Independent 5/5 stars[5]
LA Times 4/4 stars[12]
New York Daily News 4/5 stars[13]
The New York Times favourable[7]
The Washington Post favourable[9]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "What Good Am I?"   Bob Dylan 3:51
2. "Lord Help"   Jessie Mae Hemphill 3:41
3. "Did Trouble Me"   Susan Werner 4:15
4. "Strange Things"   Sister Rosetta Tharpe 3:00
5. "Burning Hell"   Bernard Bessman, John Lee Hooker 3.26
6. "If I Give My Soul"   Billy Joe Shaver 3:30
7. "Don't Knock"   Pops Staples, Wesley Westbrooks 2:16
8. "Nobody's Fault but Mine"   trad. 3:40
9. "Didn't It Rain"   trad. 3:21
10. "Ain't No Grave"   Claude Ely 3:08
11. "Run On"   trad. 3:58
Total length:
38:08

Personnel[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[15] 32
Austrian Albums Chart[16] 9
Belgian Albums Chart[17] 23
Danish Albums Chart[18] 34
Dutch Albums Chart[19] 16
European Top 100 Albums[20] 4
German Albums Chart[21] 37
Irish Albums Chart[22] 16
New Zealand Albums Chart[23] 13
Swedish Albums Chart[24] 10
Swiss Albums Chart[25] 52
UK Albums Chart[26] 2

Certifications[edit]

Chart Certification
BPI Gold

Release history[edit]

Country Date Label Format Catalogue #
United Kingdom 26 July 2010 Island Records CD, download
United States 27 July 2010 Lost Highway Records CD, download 001455502

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Front Row, BBC Radio 4 Interview". BBC. 
  2. ^ "Island Records". Islandrecords.co.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  3. ^ and blame "Review overview". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Perry, Andrew (16 July 2010). "The Daily Telegraph review". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Gill, Andy (23 July 2010). "The Independent review". The Independent (London). Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c "American Songwriter review". American Songwriter. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Ratliff, Ben; Caramanica, Jon; Holden, Stephen; Chinen, Nate (25 July 2010). "New York Times review". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Hann, Michael (22 July 2010). "The Guardian review". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "The Washington Post review". The Washington Post. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "Billboard review". Billboard. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Entertainment Weekly review". Entertainmentweekly.com. 21 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  12. ^ "LA Times review". Los Angeles Times. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  13. ^ Farber, Jim (19 July 2010). "New York Daily News review". NYDailynews.co.uk. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Praise & Blame album credits". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  15. ^ Steffen Hung. "Tom Jones – Praise & Blame". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  16. ^ Steffen Hung. "Tom Jones – Praise & Blame". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "Tom Jones – Praise & Blame". ultratop.be. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  18. ^ Steffen Hung (29 September 2010). "Tom Jones – Praise & Blame". danishcharts.com. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  19. ^ Steffen Hung. "Tom Jones – Praise & Blame". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ ":: MTV | Album Top 50 KW 9 | charts". Mtv.de. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  22. ^ "Irish albums chart information". Hotpress.com. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  23. ^ Steffen Hung. "Tom Jones – Praise & Blame". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  24. ^ Steffen Hung. "Tom Jones – Praise & Blame". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  25. ^ Steffen Hung. "Tom Jones – Praise & Blame". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  26. ^ "Archive Chart". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 August 2010.