Tom Jones became one of the most popular vocalists to emerge from the British Invasion. Since the mid-'60s, Jones has sung nearly every form of popular music – pop, rock, show tunes, country, dance, and techno, he's sung it all. His actual style – a full-throated, robust baritone that had little regard for nuance and subtlety – never changed, he just sang over different backing tracks. On-stage, Jones played up his sexual appeal; it didn't matter whether he was in an unbuttoned shirt or a tuxedo, he always radiated a raw sexuality that earned him a large following of devoted female fans who frequently threw underwear on-stage. Jones' following never diminished over the decades; he was able to exploit trends, earning new fans while retaining his core following.
From 1974 through 1980, Johnny "Guitar" Watson was on a tear no one, including George Clinton or Bootsy Collins, could equal. While the P-Funk machine began to run out of steam by 1978 - with the exception of the Brides of Funkenstein - Watson kept churning out the weird, kinky funk well into the era of Rick James. Love Jones, his last fine record for quite awhile, had all the trademarks in place: the choppy, heavily reverbed and wah-wahed guitar that had made Watson a blues sensation, the sci-fi keyboards, the handclap that Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards ripped off for Chic, the expandable horn section that intertwined with the guitar riffs, and the punched up basic basslines that kept the funk a simple but ultimately moving thing.
When a debut smooth jazz album is as alternately brilliant and maddeningly mundane as Tommy Jones' Tide Pool, some recommendations on what to leave in and out next time are in order. His vibrant classical guitar languishes too often in the service of pleasant and well produced but ultimately bland pop covers ("Tears in Heaven," "Somewhere out There").