TOM JONES – “From The Heart” (Decca SKL 4814) September 1966
I rescued Tom’s fourth album from a box of records in a charity shop in Sunderland. I had no idea what the Welsh wailer would be up to on this long-player but was prepared to take it home with me for the princely sum of £1.
For me the most interesting thing about the record is the front cover design, a photograph of Jones overlooking his hometown of Pontypridd. It was taken on Graig Mountain, on the path above Graig Terrace that leads to Upper Alma Terrace in Treforest.
I have a vision in my mind of teenage Tom wandering the streets of Pontypridd and showing off to his sweetheart Linda by possibly shadow boxing, kung-fu kicking traffic cones and doing the splits in his cuban-heeled boots.
The music on the record is mostly swing and ballads sung in his crooner style all sweetened, made even more sugary with sweeping string arrangements – in other words – over produced. Not my scene at all. He was much better doing the thumping rhythm and blues numbers from his earlier days.
There are some songs on here that I’ve heard done by other artists such as “Georgia On My Mind”, “Kansas City” and “A Taste Of Honey”. Sadly Tom Jones’ versions are smothered in brass and strings to the point that they’re unrecognisable.
I was hoping that there would be at least one unholy banger on “From The Heart” but the Beat has been drained away to the point where my mind is wandering and I want to listen to something more interesting. Tom’s voice is also annoying the hell out of me. I can take one of his ’60s songs here and there but a full album!!? – No! – not for me.
“Kansas City” starts off promising with some bluesy hammond organ but quickly dies a death. “Someday” has some great swingin’ organ and is perhaps my go to track on this collection of songs.
charity shop purchase @ £1