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'Praise and Blame,' Tom Jones

He can order from a senior citizen menu, and he's still musically relevant.

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After decades of tiptoeing along the edge of becoming a caricature, Tom Jones has released an album of songs so straight and true that they can’t help but find the heart of even the most cynical of listeners.

This 11-song collection of amped-up spirituals and musical sermons is the perfect format for the giant-voiced ’60s sex symbol. Combining an excellent selection of material with an inspired cadre of musical conspirators, Jones finds himself musically relevant again — at age 70.

After a tepid start with Bob Dylan’s “What Good Am I,” Jones gets down to business, getting his “Spirit In the Sky” on with “Lord Help.” He then turns into some strange, wonderful sort of Welsh Baptist preacher on Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s timeless shuffle, “Strange Things.”

But things really take off on the classic “Burning Hell,” which starts off carefully before Jones starts channeling the song’s progenitor, John Lee Hooker, in the second half.

DOWNLOAD: “Burning Hell”

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