October 16, 2014

What's New Pussycat

The Legendary Tom Jones
In honor of yesterday's birthday girl, I thought I'd do a little something on her favorite performer. When they lived in Wales during the late '60s and early '70s Millie was a frequent attendee at the concerts of Tom Jones and growing up I always knew she was a huge fan.

During the summer of '94 Tom Jones performed a free live concert on a Saturday afternoon in Chicago's Grant Park.  I then lived in a high rise just across the Chicago river and called my Estella to have her let Millie know that I was en route to watch TJ bring the house down. I had recently heard a few of his new songs on WXRT that were unlike anything I had ever heard him do.  He opened with this song only the studio version doesn't even come close to hearing it live with perfect outdoor acoustics and TJ's thunderous Welsh baritone ricocheting off 90 story skyscrapers alongside 100,000 people fully invested. I was there by myself (as I usually am at cultural events) and remember as that song came on everybody looking at each other either actually saying "WOW" or their expression saying it.  I couldn't believe how good he was and already was a big fan. He was in town to promote his new album The Lead and How to Swing It.  TJ swung for the fences that day and hit a tape measure shot .

**That pic up top was from The Lead... album from 1994 and became a Talisman with my crowd and made an annual appearance at the Christmas party I co-hosted with the Good Doctor every year.  Good Doc lived right across the hall on the top floor of a riverfront highrise.  As our party reached it's apex, 'TJ' was summoned for his cameo with the above pic placed prominently over the TV as we fired up that same song....GSL then took over the floor show.

31 comments:

  1. He is a legend. Unique voice but also underrated dancer. Almost every welsh person I met has a story about him. Apparently he is an amazing fighter and has no need for a bodyguard

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  2. I've seen him in Vegas twice (over a decade ago) and he was marvellous (as were his adoring fans.) I always smile when I hear What's New Pussycat.

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    1. I'd love to see him do a concert now with that more mature less powerful wiser voice singing those standards without the campy gyrations he always got caricatured for.

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  3. Funny - heard Tom on Siriusly Sinatra today, spinning his favourite Frank picks. Love him to death!

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    1. That must have been a treat Wendy. I read an interview with TJ talking of the advice Sinatra gave him about "not biting the microphone off on every song". In 9 days I'll be posting on Sinatra's last concert which my buddy Dutch, two English au pairs, and I attended precisely 20 years previous.

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  4. Aw, Tom Jones...must be some party.

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    1. It was, we'd have to bring the music down a little after midnight and then the fruit toss would begin with us trying to throw oranges across from the river from my 37th floor balcony (I'd have needed a relay to do it but could at least get a crowd pleasing splash about half way across). Since the crowd was about 75% Docs, it was a little too well behaved for my tastes and I'd lead the rowdier ones to The Lodge that pours til 4am...we always closed the joint.

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  5. I remember him well. Long past when I thought he was "cool" my girlfriends would go to see him in concert in Vegas. They tossed room keys and panties at the stage! An icon of his era and I still love his songs.

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    1. J,
      So none of those knickers hurled on stage by your "girlfriends" had a return address written in "creamy not frosty" lipstick...???

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  6. So what's your signature move on the dance floor??

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    1. Jody,
      That's like asking Shakespeare what's his signature catch phrase.

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  7. That picture is a hoot...looks like an action figure! I cannot say I was or am much of a fan of TJ,but it is fun to read about the concert!
    Xmas party sounds like a Mad Men episode...oranges, docs and all! Poor docs, usually sleep deprived, but at least they showed up!

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    1. Trudye, these were all young single docs doing their residency or fellowships and quite hot commodities with young single women as you might imagine. Women fell from the sky for this party.

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  8. TJ sounds like my kind of guy, I must say I am not very familiar with his music for some reason? Must have passed me by but I'll be looking him up now so thanks for that. That party sounds great G.

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    1. Dani, You definitely need a proper intro to TJ. That will be on your Chicago itinerary.

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  9. Ok now, Kiddo. On this bright and beautiful October morning, you've had me skittering madly all over the You Tube with It's Not Unusual and WHYYYYY OH WHYYYY, and jumping around the house, forty years lifted and flown, and that sixties swing in the steps. And then absolutely melting over Green Green Grass of Home.

    Places to go today---pumpkins and cider calling from little roadside markets, and faraway tree-lines like glowing embers to see, and home to the all-day simmer of pot roast on this chilly evening. And here I am, Jonesin'. See what you've done. Hmmmph.

    My own mother---another Millie, as well---went to a convention in Las Vegas decades ago, and while her friends were hitting the slots and hot spots, she went to see Tom Jones all by herself. Two nights in a row.

    Wonderful memories you evoke.

    rchl

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    1. Rachel, thank you for sharing your memories with your Millie and my Millie making quite a pair. I've been playing a good bit of TJ the last few days as well.

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  10. Fun post! One of my old...flames,( for lack of a better term lol) does a TJ tribute act. Crazy, enough back in 1979 I told him he should try and do a TJ cover act, and he was SO insulted. He was in a rock band at the time.
    I couldn't believe it when one of his former bandmates told me what he's doing now. I googled him and found a photo or two of him with TJ, and a Youtube video. Memories. lol.

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    1. Oh Duchess you must forward me youtube vid of former 'flame'..which words for that would be worse??

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  11. Love Tom Jones. Great to read about the concert, how amazing it must have been!

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    1. One of the best concerts I've ever been to MaiTai and he is a performer who actually sounds better live than in studio.

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  12. Mr Jones sounds like something of a stud though I dont know much about him. I have heard about women throwing their bloomers on stage. I shall look for some of his videos but you do, of course, realize there is another video that we all wish to see....

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    1. My dear Bebe, you must be brought into the fold re TJ. Not sure which vid you refer to but like TJ, GSL is much better live

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    2. I refer of course, to a video of GSL cutting a rug to Tom Jones. I believe I am in the majority on this....

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  13. The man sure can sing! Even in his old age he sings ways better than any of the rising 'stars'

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    1. Lady Sarah, apparently there is something in the water (or down those mineshafts) in Wales that give a male voice a much richer timbre.

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  14. Sorry for the delay GLS. When I "knew" him,his last name was Nadeau; not Nelson. His first name is still Lou.
    I sure hope this clue will do, for you? lol.

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    1. I think I found that silly wrabit...

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  15. I knew Lou, back when he was in Telemann. Their keyboard player; Dave Kirby, who died of prostate cancer was one of my dearest friends.

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