Album: Tom Jones, Spirit in the Room (Island)


After his 1980s comeback, Jones spent two decades milking his kitsch appeal. Now, he wants us to take him seriously (and turn a blind eye to his participation in BBC1's execrable The Voice). 

Starting with Leonard Cohen's "Tower of Song" ("My friends are gone and my hair is grey"), this is effectively his "Welsh Recordings". Like the late Johnny Cash, Jones has reinterpreted the venerable songs in a bare, basic, bluesy style. Unlike Cash, he never quite makes them his own.