Music News

Jones Fix

The man they once called Tiger Tom was savvy enough to secure all the rights to his ITV variety show, which ran in England and America from 1969 to 1971, but securing rights from some of the performers proved harder. That's why review copies of the DVD This Is Tom Jones (Time Life Records) went out with clips of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young performing "Long Time Gone" with Jones that had to be yanked at the last minute by the request of Neil Young himself, who didn't even write that song but refused to give his permission. There are still plenty of other interesting duets from what turned out to be the last truly great variety show of the '60s. There's Jones and Janis Joplin holding their own in a vocal face-off on a Richard Harris song ("Didn't We") and an Eddie Floyd song ("Raise Your Hand"), Jones and Mama Cass offending portly people everywhere by singing "A Big Hunk O' Love," Jones and Johnny Cash bumming out the nation with a medley of coal miner hits, and Jones and John Davidson re-imagining The Everly Brothers if one of them was really, really lame. But where's Jones and the Rascals delving into "The Midnight Hour," or Jones redirecting The Moody Blues to their blues origins with a duet of Z.Z. Hill's "It's a Hang Up Baby"? The producers are promising another volume, but perhaps they should've waited until they could release the first season in its entirety rather than cut up the shows. And who decided we needed eight versions of "It's Not Unusual" and some real rare and unfunny skits like Jones playing a cop busting up an elderly pot party with aging hippie Bob Hope — which actually predicts where the Legalize Pop movement was really heading? That's minor carping. This set should prove that Jones is indeed a soul singer of the highest caliber, and that TV was once small enough or big enough to contain The Who and Claudine Longet on the same TV show.