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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 22 October, 2002, 21:35 GMT 22:35 UK
Changing styles keep Jones going
Tom Jones
Jones had never written songs before

It may not be a secret that evolution is the key to a prolonged musical career, but few have mastered the formula better than the irrepressible Tom Jones.

Three years ago, he re-emerged from the wilderness with Reload - a collection of covers alongside modern-day chart-toppers including the Stereophonics, Robbie Williams and Cerys Matthews.


I think if Elvis had still been alive, he would be doing songs like the remix of A Little Less Conversation

Tom Jones

Now he has continued to plot a path away from extinction by teaming up with Fugees star, and solo artist, Wyclef Jean for his latest album, Mr Jones.

The lively record scatters remixes of older tracks such as Black Betty among a brand-new collection of songs - all of which Jones helped write.

Jones' pride in the record and his respect for his co-collaborator are obvious as he talks about his music.

"Trying new things is what keeps me going - it is exciting and challenging," said the Pontypridd-born star.

Tom Jones album
The album is out in November

"A lot of people who started in the 60s are still there. I wanted to move on.

"I still do a lot of the songs I did then, but I think the sounds have changed more than anything else.

"You need to work with the new producers and new songwriters."

Jones added that his friend Mr Presley would have still been at the cutting edge of music, if history had run a different course.

"I think if Elvis had still been alive, he would be doing songs like the remix of A Little Less Conversation," he said.

"He was trying to make more modern recordings before he died, so I am sure he would have carried on doing that."

New relationship

Jones' latest muscial partnership was formed after he and Wyclef were on the same billing at a charity concert.

The relationship, and the agreement to work together, were cemented over a few nights out.

But, when the pair converged on a studio, the Welshman found himself on unfamiliar ground, and even writing songs for the first time.


There are not a lot of shows where you can go and sing live. I think there is a void there

Tom Jones
"He started bringing all these lyrics out of me that I wouldn't have ordinarily have done," said Jones.

"Every time I came up with an interesting lyric, he would write it down."

Wyclef encouraged Jones by telling him to keep his lyrics true to his own experiences, and this certainly comes across in many of the tracks, especially the nostalgic Younger Days.

Now Jones is sitting back to see how his efforts are received.

"You do the best but you get so close to stuff when you are recording it, you can't stand back and listen to it as other people will," he said.

As for his next project, he would not be drawn on whether he and Wyclef would work on a second album, but he is not short of ideas on how to keep himself busy.

Firstly, he hinted that he was considering a second album of collaborations - or a Reload 2, as he called it - especially involving American bands.

And it might not just be your eardrums he could be testing - he has his eye on TV too!

"There are not a lot of shows where you can go and sing live."

"I think there is a void there," he said.

Watch this space!

The album, Mr Jones is out on 4 November. The first single, Tom Jones International, is out already.

See also:

23 Oct 02 | Wales
19 Oct 02 | Wales
30 Jun 02 | Wales
22 Oct 02 | Entertainment
08 Jul 02 | Entertainment
30 Jan 01 | Entertainment
19 Nov 99 | Entertainment
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