Do you dig the new photo at the top of the blog? That vibe is right outta 1969. At that time, and 40 years ago this week, Tom Jones gave off that vibe as well.
Tom Jones was just about the hottest thing on radio and television. If you’ve been a regular visitor here, you know I dig Tom Jones. I wrote this almost three years ago:
Tom Jones was one of my role models when I was growing up in the early ’70s. You gotta learn your way with the ladies somehow, and he seemed a pretty good guide to a 13-year-old. … I vividly recall watching “This is Tom Jones” with my grandmother, who thought he was great.
Tom Jones had no shortage of his own hits, given a string of smash singles that started with “It’s Not Unusual” in 1965 and wound down with “She’s A Lady” in 1971.
Indeed, in this week in 1970, Tom Jones had another single heading up the charts: “Daughter of Darkness.”
But he needed more material for his TV and stage shows, so he tirelessly and good-naturedly did cover after cover. Which brings us to a couple of other songs heard on the radio this week 40 years ago.
Right behind “Daughter of Darkness” in the charts was “Puppet Man” by the 5th Dimension … which, like Tom Jones, is another of my guilty pop pleasures. Entering the charts right behind those tunes was “Get Ready,” Rare Earth’s muscular debut single, a cover of the Temptations hit written by Smokey Robinson.
What a time that was.
You know the 5th Dimension and Rare Earth versions of those tunes.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Tom Jones!
“Get Ready,” Tom Jones, from “The Tom Jones Fever Zone,” 1968. It’s out of print, but if you see this album in the crates, grab it.
“Delilah” is on this album, along with at least a half-dozen outstanding R&B and soul covers. “Get Ready”gets a fast-paced run-through, driven by some big Vegas-style horns. Among the other covers: “It’s a Man’s Man’s World,” “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “Hold On, I’m Coming,” “I Was Made To Love Her,” “Don’t Fight It” and “Keep On Running.”
“Puppet Man,” Tom Jones, from “Tom Jones Sings She’s A Lady,” 1971. This also is out of print.
“Puppet Man” gets second billing on the album cover, and with good reason. Jones delivers a snarling, nasty, grinding cover with plenty of chunky Memphis guitar. This was the follow-up single to “She’s A Lady,” which was Jones’ last Top 10 hit in the United States. However, “Puppet Man” stalled in the middle of the Top 40.