The Pryce is right – come on down Sir Tom Jones!

I’ve mentioned previously that I am a fan of audiobooks. Well, I am fan of books in general to be honest, but with audiobooks there is something about adjusting the the earphones, sitting back and simply letting the storyteller take over that appeals to me – especially whilst vegging out on long-haul flights and lazing in bed.
I have a wide variety of titles on my smart phone, ranging from Enid Blyton (yes, seriously, the complete Famous Five collection if you must know) to Ernest Hemingway and everything in between – including the clinical hypnotherapist Max Kirsten.
Read into that what you will.
My most recent purchase however, was Tom Jones’ autobiography ‘Over the top and back’ superbly narrated by Jonathan Pryce, who is perhaps better known for his roles in Pirates of the Caribbean and Game of Thrones. Pryce does an amazing job as ‘Tom’ and in all honesty, had I not known, I never would have guessed it wasn’t the real ‘Him’ telling the story.
Got the accent and phrasing off to a T. Fair play, mun.

Alongside the whole over-the-top story line, I also loved the familiar Welshness of it all. The accent, the places, the phrases – the things which, according to some reviews, the American audience seemingly couldn’t relate to.

And though the Sex-Bomb (quite surprisingly) drops quite a few F-Bombs – I suppose it does reveal a lesser known side to him and even succeeds in making it that bit more personal. Almost as if he’s let his guard down and is reminiscing with you over a pint. I guess my reaction stems from the fact that we, as an adoring public, are perhaps not used to hearing our Tom use such language.
Says me… Seriously?! A bloke from Ponty not swearing?… pah-leezz!
I’d question the authenticity of his birth certificate if he didn’t.

But this post is not just about Jonathan aka Tom talking to me (baby) via satellite, it is also about Tom as an entertainer and a flash back to his concert that I attended in Iceland last year.

During the concert Tom sang the song ‘The Elvis Presley Blues’ by Gillian Welch. And I can’t really describe it but it was, how can I say, ‘deep’… He sang it like he meant it. It was obvious that the song meant something to him – but at that point I didn’t know why.
Having read the book, I now do..
There is a chapter in Tom’s autobiography that is dedicated to Elvis and it is really quite funny (I won’t go into any detail at a risk of spoiling things). But I hadn’t realised before quite how close these two musical giants were and the depth and sincerity of their friendship. I now totally ‘get’ why that song meant so much to Tom and why he sang it with such conviction. In short, Elvis was his mate and the song obviously struck a chord with him. It touched him. And he in turn, touched us.
I found a live version here that comes pretty close. Still can’t watch it without tearing up tbh.

But back to the book. Yes, I loved it and can totally recommend it. Though surprisingly the book doesn’t mention the film ‘Mars Attacks’ in which Tom has a cameo role – which IS unusual as alongside being an incredible singer and entertainer, he also comes across as being an alright bloke with a great sense of humour.
Someone who quite genuinely has never forgotten his roots. Accent and all.
Something which I think Jonathan Pryce would be inclined to agree with.

Tom Jones – ‘Over the top and back’ published by Penguin audio available on Amazon

Image thanks to Amazon


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