While many of Sir Tom Jones‘ original songs are classics of pop music, in the latter years of his career he has continued to remind fans and critics what a sensational interpreter he is of songs written by others. Whether soul, gospel, pop or rock, Tom Jones‘ voice and skills as a performer allow him to find new nuances and power in songs many of us already knew and loved. His latest feat is a remarkably strong cover of the Bob Dylan classic “Not Dark Yet”.
The original song found Dylan at his most somber and reflective. The track is a meditation on aging and knowing death is not far off. Stripped down to guitar and piano for most of the track, the song is haunting and moving in ways Dylan had never been before. If any other performer were to attempt to cover the track by kicking up the tempo and making “Not Dark Yet” into a folk rocker, it would likely strip the song of its emotional heft.
Yet not with Jones’ cover. Far more upbeat musically, Jones version of the song is less somber and more celebratory, relishing the life lived, even as the darkness is coming. He makes the song into a testament of embracing the time we have, as opposed to fearing the sands in our hourglass slipping away.
It’s a must-hear for any fan of Jones or Dylan. Take a listen to it here.