Tom Jones: Live Caesars Place

Varése Saraband Records – Re-issue (1971)

I found my knife in my hand, and she laughed no more!

As production techniques got better in the late 60’s and early 70’s, songs began to get really big. Added to usual band line ups, were string and brass sections and girl backing vocal groups. Through all this came a new type of song – ‘The Psycho Drama’. These were songs that were massively overproduced and dripping with emotion. The Queens of this type of music were Shirley Bassey, Nancy Sinatra, Dusty Springfield and Cilla Black. The Kings were Roy Orbison, The Righteous Brothers and Tom Jones.

Now I love Tom, and I love all his overblown crowd-pleasers like Delilah, I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, and Daughter Of Darkness. But one fine day I was traveling back home from rural Victoria, and was channel hopping on the car radio. Finally I landed on a independent radio station that was playing some really good live soul recordings. As I traveled on, I thought, hey I recognize that voice – that’s Tom Jones. It wasn’t his usual repertoire, it was a selection of old soul classics. And they were bloody good. As this station was run by volunteers, they didn’t feel the need to impart any information about the music they were playing, and to this very day, I do not know the name of the album that these songs come from. So many years have past, I am wondering if it really sounded like that at all?

But I knew there was a great Tom Jones live album out there somewhere, and tried to track it down. My first attempt was Tom Jones: Live Caesars Palace. It’s not the album I was after, but it’s so good, in a very different kind of way. This is Tom at the height of his manly appeal. In fact the whole album is interrupted with girls throwing themselves at Tom. But this just adds to the show. And the music is all of his big ‘psycho drama’ tunes. If you want to see a grown man cry, just play me his version of I (Who Have Nothing), and I’ll be a blubbering mess.

01. Dance Of Love
02. Cabaret
03. Soul Man
04. I (Who Have Nothing)
05. Delilah
06. Bridge Over Troubled Water
07. My Way
08. God Bless The Children
09. Resurrection Shuffle
10. She’s A Lady
11. Till
12. Hit Medley: – I’ll Never Fall In Love, Daughter Of Darkness, Love Me Tonight, It’s Not Unusual
13. Hi Heel Sneakers
14. Rock ‘N’ Roll Medley: – Johnny B Goode, Bony Maronie, Long Tall Sally

Sound wise, the album is very good, and the arrangements by Johnnie Spence are perfect for a recording of this era (if it was done today, there’d be more emphasis on the bass).

The line up for this show includes: Tom Jones – vocals and whipping the ladies in the crowd into a frenzy, Jim Sullivan – Lead Guitar, Kenny Clare – Drums, John Rostill – Bass Guitar, Bobby Shew – Lead Trumpet.

If your a fan of Tom Jones, I’d go as far as to say, this album is a ‘must have’. Of course if you’re a ‘tourist’ there are plenty of fine compilations out there, which feature more of his big ‘hits’.

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