Jack White's collaboration with 71-year-old crooner Tom Jones could have gone one of two ways. Jones' entry in Third Man Records' Blue Series of 7-inch singles could have ended up as a stripped-down bid for world-weary gravitas, in the style of Rick Rubin's productions for Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond. Or White and Jones could have stuck to a rough 'n' ready garage-rock format not unlike the series' previous installments involving Stephen Colbert, John C. Reilly, and the, um, Insane Clown Posse.
Happily, White and Jones chose Door No. 2. Jones' White-produced cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Evil" aired on BBC Radio yesterday (via Consequence of Sound), and it's a brawny, horn-smacked garage-soul stomper. Jones' full-throated vocal has not a hint of cheese, and the backing band swaggers with enough cigarettes and whiskey to re-open some long-lost Southern dive bar. With a new version of Jones' own 2002 cut "Jezebel" on the flip, the single arrives on March 5. Time to revisit Jones' back catalog? Well, we'd really rather make fun of his chest hair.