Throughout the Sixties, Welsh-born singer Tom Jones scored huge pop hits on both sides of the pond with “It’s Not Unusual,” “Delilah” and “What’s New, Pussycat.” A wildly popular stage and TV star whose live concerts made grown women swoon (and willingly sacrifice their undergarments), Jones also turned the country songs “Green, Green Grass of Home” and “Detroit City” into pop-chart gold. Ironically, it wasn’t until 1977 that he had his first official country hit, a Number One tune and pop crossover called “Say You’ll Stay Until Tomorrow.” Fifteen country chart entries followed, including a Number Four single in 1983 with a remake of Big Al Downing’s “Touch Me (I’ll Be Your Fool Once More)” but none could duplicate that first hit.
In early 1986, just as Jones was enjoying his last Top Forty country hit with “It’s Four in the Morning,” Kentucky-born country-rocker (and future big-screen star) Dwight Yoakam was having his first, thanks to his high-octane remake of Johnny Horton’s “Honky Tonk Man.” Throughout the Eighties and Nineties, Yoakam was one of country radio’s biggest stars, and to this day remains a huge concert draw. A gifted songwriter, he’s also been known to dust off some unexpected cover songs in live shows, as well as on record.
In March 1995, when Jones played a show at Los Angeles’ House of Blues as part of a televised concert series for TBS, Dwight Yoakam joined him on stage. As seen in the above clip, the two trade vocals on a countrified, horn-filled version of the Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit, “The Last Time.” Yoakam, in his trademark cowboy hat and impossibly tight jeans, and Jones, dressed all in black, tear through the number as the show’s credits roll. The hour-long series from the legendary venue had debuted earlier that year with a kickoff concert featuring future country hitmakers Sheryl Crow and Darius Rucker (with his band Hootie and the Blowfish), and ran until 1996.
Now addressed as Sir Tom Jones, the 75-year-old is still showing his love for country and roots music. On December 4th, he’ll release the LP Long Lost Suitcase, a thoroughly captivating collection featuring songs from Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Gillian Welch, Milk Carton Kids and the Rolling Stones, among others. The album, which ends with a pair of original tunes, including the lively bluegrass of “Raise a Ruckus,” serves as a companion soundtrack to the simultaneously released book, Over the Top and Back: The Autobiography.