The worst thing about “Green Green Grass of Home” is how close it comes to being OK: for two verses the band is tight and Tom is as close as Tom gets to ‘restrained’, and the record is shaping up nicely. Carry on for another verse in that vein and we’d be listening to a big, corny pop-soul heartwarmer: sentimental for sure, but strong.
But no, there has to be a twist. And it’s not so much that there is a twist – plenty of songs have them – it’s the manner of its delivery. “And I realise -yes -“, says Tom Jones, “I WAS ONLY DREAMING”. It’s rare to feel patronised by a pop song, but this pulls it off. Spoken word sections usually work as a spash of naturalism in the middle of a pop performance – a trick to reduce the performer/audience distance and jack up the intimacy. But naturalism and Tom Jones don’t really share a universe, and given the assumed need to hammer home the ending for the slow of hearing the effect is something like Brian Blessed teaching a remedial class.