Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Review by Ian King

Issue 345 – September 2016

(CD) John Kyffin – Made In Wales (A Tribute to Sir Tom Jones)
Running Time 53 minutes – Price £7.95

John Kyffin - Tom Jones - Made In Wales
John Kyffin – Tom Jones – Made In Wales

It’s always nice to have a new release from John Kyffin, this one being CD number twenty-eight and his first since “Eye Society” in August 2015. This is also the latest in his series of solo ‘tribute’ CDs following on from Klaus Wunderlich, Rudolph Paché, ABBA, James Last, Andy Williams & Roy Orbison. This one is a tribute to Sir Tom Jones, although at first glance I did think the cover looked like a Welsh Choir CD with MADE IN WALES as the main heading and Tom Jones reduced to second billing and to confuse things even more, John has also added all the inlay introductory text in Welsh ONLY. I have started to add a picture of Sir Tom to some of my catalogue pictures to make it clear what the CD contains.

If you’re not a fan of Thomas John Woodward, there is still a lot to enjoy on this CD as it’s full of really good tunes. There are the all the massive hits including, “Delilah”, “The Green Green Grass of Home”, “It’s Not Unusual”, “What’s New Pussycat”, “Sex Bomb”, “She’s a Lady”, “Kiss” and “The Boy from Nowhere”, but we also have some of the lesser known ones (to me anyway), including, “Till”, “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”, “Funny Familiar Forgotten Feelings” and “Detroit City”.

The CD is played on John’s trusty Wersi organs with the Tyros 2 taking care of all the backing stuff, plus a lot of the solo instruments on this one too. The Wersi’s pack a punch when brought to the fore, which I’m pleased to say is quite a lot, coming in on the sweeping choruses to give the whole thing a lift.

We kick off with a fabulous opener and one of Tom’s two most popular hits, “Delilah” with orchestral backing, Wersi-sound and castanets galore! A more laid-back track follows but still another million-seller and “The Green Green Grass of Home” with organ and a lovely harmonica lead. A full-on Wersi-sound track “Till” slots in before the other of his two biggest hits and “It’s Not Unusual”. This is a great toe-tapping arrangement with organ, brass section and backing band. A very nice bass-line too.

“I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” next and then we have an unusual version of “What’s New Pussycat” with the Wersi taking over in the chorus. This arrangement is a cross between a fairground organ and an Oom-Pah band. Another toe-tapper next with “There’s Something ’Bout You Baby I Like”, before we go a little country with “Funny Familiar Forgotten Feelings”.

One of Tom’s later chart successes, “Sex Bomb” follows, now there’s not much of a tune to this one (not compared to his earlier hits anyway), but John makes up for it with a funky arrangement. A shuffle-styled “The Impossible Dream” next, before a couple that passed me by; “Love Me Tonight“ and “Detroit City”. We now have one I recognise, “She’s a Lady” which has a fabulous rhythm going on. “I’m Coming Home” next, then a funky arrangement of the late Prince-penned hit “Kiss” which along with the closing track gave Tom a bit of a comeback some thirty years ago. This last track “The Boy from Nowhere”, is another lovely arrangement with soft brass and acoustic guitar opening (and those pesky castanets!) before a lovely orchestral finale.

As with all of John’s CDs, the playing and arrangements are excellent. I think this is going to be John’s final solo ‘tribute’ recording and if it is, then it’s a nice one to end on.

FULL TRACKS: Delilah • The Green Green Grass of Home • Till • It’s Not Unusual • I’ll Never Fall in Love Again • What’s New Pussycat • There’s Something ’Bout You Baby I Like • Funny Familiar Forgotten Feelings • Sex Bomb • The Impossible Dream • Love Me Tonight • Detroit City • She’s a Lady • I’m Coming Home • Kiss • The Boy from Nowhere.

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Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.

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