The Sixties were a strange time. A time when popular chart artists might be given their own television variety show on which they could showcase their own talents and have musical guests brighten up proceedings. Sometimes these guests could be surprisingly credible – one thinks of Hendrix on the Lulu show, ditching the ‘Hey, Joe‘ he clearly didn’t want to play and bursting out with an impromptu ‘Sunshine of Your Love‘ on which he showed Clapton how it should be played.
And so – Tom Jones, whose show could feature the most light variety fare such as a medley of tunes with Esther Ofarim and Cher where each stole the other’s songs. Hilarious. But there were also moments where Tom Jones would show what he could actually do, and thereby leave the listener wondering why – other than it sold really well – he was wasting his time with his usual chart topping fare. Hmm. Watch a stoned Crosby nod his approval and try to remain in camera shot at all times, see Nash and Crosby grinning ear to ear, while Neil Young looks on amazed at what’s happening here and Stills turns in a determined “I will not be outsung by this cat” vocal. Listen to this (and maybe also his appearance with Janis Joplin) and consider the alternative career Tom Jones may be enjoying somewhere out there in the multiverse.
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