Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young & . . . Tom Jones?

On May 10 in 1749, the tenth and final volume of the novel Tom Jones by Henry Fielding was published. Many consider the comic story, whose full name was The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, one of the earliest and most influential English novel. When many people hear the name “Tom Jones” today, they are likely to think of the Welsh singer with that name.

Tom Jones, the singer, was born as Thomas John Woodward on June 7, 1940. People know Jones for a number of hits ranging from “It’s Not Unusual” in 1965 and “Green Green Grass of Home” in 1966 to a cover of Prince’s “Kiss” in 1988 with Art of Noise. But from 1969 to 1971, Jones also hosted a TV variety show, This is Tom Jones.

Jones’s show featured a variety of guests that led to some great pairings that allowed Jones to show off his vocal range, such as an amazing duet with Janis Joplin. Another unusual pairing from 1969 that surprisingly works well is Jones singing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Check out Jones singing “Long Time Gone” with CSNY, which also features great vocals by Stephen Stills. I wonder if Jones and Neil Young ever shared a stage again. But based on this performance, I would buy a ticket.

David Crosby wrote “Long Time Gone” as a response to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. The group, without Tom Jones, performed the song at Woodstock. “Long Time Gone” is a political song challenging authority that remains relevant through the decades.

And it appears to be a long,
Such a long, long, long time before the dawn.
Speak out, you got to speak out against
The madness, you got to speak your mind,
If you dare.

Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    October 1992: They Were So Much Older Then

    Our video for the day is the performance of Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages” at The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration.  The concert — held at on October 16, 1992 at Madison Square Garden — celebrated Dylan’s 30 years of recording.  And this performance featured Dylan, Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Eric Clapton and George Harrison.

    It is an amazing collection of legends onstage doing on of Dylan’s great early songs.  “My Back Pages” originally appeared on his 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan.

    What is amazing about this performance is how at the time of the concert, the singers were already legends and they seemed old at the time.  But looking at it now, they all seem so young.  Or maybe part of that is because I am so much older now.

    Check out the video, which begins with Roger McGuinn singing the song, which he had previous recorded with The Byrds and released in 1967.  Then, the others follow until Dylan takes the lead himself.  In the meantime, one may watch Dylan’s face to make any guesses about what he is thinking as the others sing his song.

    There are various interpretations of “My Back Pages,” although most read it as Dylan’s rejection of his younger idealism.  But like many of his songs, listeners may find their own meaning and a little of their own life in the song.  And, more than two decades ago, we found a little more connection to the song through many of the rock legends of our youth.

    What is your favorite version of “My Back Pages”? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    The First Farm Aid

    On September 22, 1985, the first “Farm Aid” was held in Champaign, Illinois. Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp organized the benefit concert for struggling American farmers. Performers at that concert included a broad range of performers, including Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Hoyt Axton, Don Henley, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Billy Joel, Waylon Jennings, John Denver, Loretta Lynn, Joni Mitchell, Charley Pride, Sammy Hagar, George Jones, and Lou Reed.

    Reportedly, the idea for Farm Aid began when Bob Dylan played at Live Aid earlier in the year in July and suggested some of the money from that concert should go to American farmers. While some — including Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof — were upset that Dylan exploited the stage of a worldwide televised concert in support of African famine relief to focus on Americans, other artists used the comment as inspiration for the Farm Aid concert. And Farm Aid benefit concerts continue to this day.

    That September 22 in 1985, the performers did not know that the work would continue for decades. But they joyously sang and played to try to give something back. Below is one of the performances that day in Illinois, featuring Willie Nelson, Arlo Guthrie, and Dottie West singing “City of New Orleans.”



    What is your favorite Farm Aid performance? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    It’s “Rock & Roll Time” When Jerry Lee Lewis Releases New Music

    Jerry Lee Lewis is releasing a new album on October 28, Rock & Roll Time. Like his other recent albums of duets, Last Man Standing (2006) and Mean Old Man (2010), the new album features help from some famous names like Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Neil Young, Robbie Robertson, Shelby Lynne, and Nils Lofgren.

    The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that the album will have eleven tracks, with roughly half originals and half covers (like “Folsom Prison Blues” and Bob Dylan’s “Stepchild”). Check out the title track, “Rock & Roll Time,” below.

    Rock & Roll Time is not all we will be hearing from Jerry Lee Lewis. On September 23, Saguaro Road Records is releasing The Knox Phillips Sessions, a previously unreleased 1970s album from Lewis that was produced by Knox Phillips (the son of the legendary producer Sam Phillips). Additionally, a new Jerry Lee Lewis authorized biography Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story hits bookstores October 28. For the book, Lewis sat for interviews with author Rick Bragg.

    It looks like there’s going to be a lot of Jerry Lee Lewis this Fall. The more Killer the better.

    What is your favorite Jerry Lee Lewis song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Don McLean Live at Glastonbury

    I recently discovered that YouTube features a number of full high quality performances from past Glastonbury Festivals in England. Some of the clips are of individual songs instead of full performances. There are some good ones of Paul Simon, Johnny Cash, Buddy Guy, The Gaslight Anthem, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Regina Spektor and OK Go.

    For one that you might not expect, check out this 2011 performance by Don McLean, who of course performs “Vincent” and “American Pie.” Here is “Vincent.”

    And here is “American Pie.”

    To see Glastonbury performances from the other performers, head over to this YouTube link.

    What is or favorite YouTube concert? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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