Tom Jones living on the hallelujah side

Evidently doing penance after years of being pelted with women’s panties on stage, Tom Jones will issue “Praise and Blame,” an album apparently comprising mostly sacred material, via Lost Highway on July 27.

Produced by Ethan Johns, the album leads off with Bob Dylan’s “What Good Am I,” a number from 1989 album “Oh Mercy” that’s delicately tinged with that old time religion; a clip of the track from Jools Holland’s U.K. show is linked above. The set also includes renditions of numbers associated by the Staples Singers and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, as well as “Ain’t No Grave,” recently revived in a posthumously released version by Johnny Cash. Even a secular number like John Lee Hooker’s “Burnin’ Hell” plays into the theme of sin and salvation.

And that’s what’s new, pussycat.

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