“The Green, Green Grass of Home” in Daydreaming on the Porch

  • Aug. 9, 2020, 3:46 p.m.
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  • Public

I was going my afternoon ritual of surfing though YouTube this afternoon, and just happened upon a clip from a U.K. TV station about Tom Jones on the occasion of his 80th birthday (two months ago). Now that is truly hard to believe. They had put together a 52-minute retrospective of his life and career.

Well, I had to pause because there was so much ahead on YouTube as I indulged in my craving for more and more serendipitous music clips, mini-documentaries, news and commentary, comedy sketches, and on and on. YouTube is vast and endless. So why should I takes look at this Tom Jones documentary? I never cared that much for his big, brash, loud sound. But I went ahead and started watching and was quite fascinated at what a pop culture icon he is. Elvis bought all his records and they became good friends. He had his own TV show. He performed at Vegas, and on and on.

He was apparently much more popular than my snooty dismissal of him way back in 1968 when he started having his big hits. I really disliked his over-the-top persona and way he belted out what I thought were pretty crummy songs. However, as you get older, time has a way of mellowing you and you become more amenable to giving artists another look, for old times sake if nothing else. I mean he was larger than life.

There was probably only one singer who could out blast Jones in the decibel department and they was Janis Joplin. They memorably performed together on his TV show in 1969. I’m afraid I got a headache listening to that.

The one song, among several, which I think he could really call his own and which would long survive him and the others who recorded it, was “The Green, Green Grass of Home.” Tom Jones really put his heart and soul into that one. I’ve been listening to the music and words more closely than I ever had before, and what a truly beautiful and memorable, but sad, song it is! I always liked it but haven’t heard it in years.

Interestingly it was a country song first made popular by Porter Wagoner in 1965. (I’m including the words to the song below). If you do a YouTube search you’ll find dozens of artists who have recorded this song: Elvis (a truly magnificent version), Joan Baez, Charley Pride, Merle Haggard, Patti page, Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell — and that’s just a sampling.

I love that YouTube has helped me rediscover this song. I hope you enjoy hearing it again.

Green Green Grass of Home

Elvis Presley version

Joan Baez

And I can’t conclude this entry without this clip from his appearance on a popular British variety show. He is Welsh and is immensely popular in the U.K. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2006. This comedy sketch just made my day. Jones has a great sense of humor and I had a really good laugh watching this:

“The Green Green Grass of Home”
Written by Curly Putman, Jr.

This is a sad song and I guess we’ll never know what the man was convicted of.

The old home town looks the same
As I step down from the train
And there to meet me is my Mama and Papa
Down the road I look and there runs Mary
Hair of gold and lips like cherries
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home

Yes, they’ll all come to meet me, arms reaching, smiling sweetly
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home
The old house is still standing tho’ the paint is cracked and dry
And there’s that old oak tree that I used to play on

Down the lane I walk with my sweet Mary
Hair of gold and lips like cherries
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home

Then I awake and look around me
At four grey walls that surround me
And I realize, yes, I was only dreaming
For there’s a guard and there’s a sad old padre
Arm in arm, we’ll walk at daybreak
Again I touch the green, green grass of home
Yes, they’ll all come to see me
In the shade of that old oak tree
As they lay me ‘neath the green, green grass of home.

Last updated August 09, 2020

ConnieK August 09, 2020

My older brother dated Joan Baez's sister, Mimi Farina, for a brief period when she was separated from her husband. 1970s, I think.
Curly Putman was country (He Stopped Loving her Today), Baez was folk/protest/and a little country, and Tom Jones was lounge lizard stuff of my mother's generation (known for throwing lingerie onto the stage as he sang). I was more into burning my bra.

Oswego ConnieK ⋅ August 09, 2020

Lol. Yeah, old Tom was a lady’s man. The Queen of England was apparently a big fan. He did have a powerful voice!

Jinn August 10, 2020

“ The Green , Green Grass of Home” Was F’s Dad’s favorite song :-) We played it at his funeral . I never liked Tom Jones music very much but I always remember ; “ She’s a Lady “ as the one I thought was catchy . :-)

Oswego Jinn ⋅ August 10, 2020

I’m still sorta wondering why I posted this entry but the pandemic does strange things. My next music entry will be very different.

Jinn Oswego ⋅ August 10, 2020

It was a good one !

MageB August 11, 2020

I was with an group that followed him on stage one night. I was shocked by the volume of TJ.

Oswego MageB ⋅ August 11, 2020

Wow! I can only imagine! Always thought he had a big voice! :)

Kristi1971 August 12, 2020

I like Tom Jones...

Marg August 12, 2020

Have to say I always felt sorry for his wife Linda with all his philanderings! Morecambe and Wise was obligatory viewing in our house every week :)

Oswego Marg ⋅ August 12, 2020

I still am wondering why I did that entry. It wasn’t so much about Tom Jones because I really didn’t like his singing, but “Green, Green, Grass of Home“ I will never forget and Tom Jones’ version is the one I will always remember.

Marg Oswego ⋅ August 13, 2020

I think his connection with Wales made it very fitting for him :)

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