NEAL CONAN, host:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington.
Tom Jones has belted out sexy pop tunes for five decades now. During the '60s, his hits included "What's New, Pussycat?" And "It's Not Unusual." The versatile star hit the country charts with "The Green, Green Grass of Home." More recently, he covered Prince's "Kiss" in 1986 and made "Sex Bomb" in 1999.
(Soundbite of song, "Sex Bomb")
Mr. TOM JONES (Singer): (Singing) Now, you found the secret code I use to wash away my lonely blues. So I can't deny or lie, 'cause you're the only one to make me fly.
You know what you are, you are a sex bomb, sex bomb. You're a sex bomb...
CONAN: Now this year, at the age of 70, Tom Jones released an album that shows a different side.
(Soundbite of song, "Strange Things")
Mr. JONES: (Singing) Oh, we heard church people say they are in the holy way. There are strange things happening every day. Oh, the last man's judgment day, when they drive him all away, there are strange things happening every day.
CONAN: "Strange Things," from Tom Jones' new album, "Praise and Blame," and he joins us in just a moment.
If you're a fan of gospel music, does this work for you? Are you ready to accept crossover from pop stars? Our phone number: 800-989-8255. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the conversation on our website, at npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION.
Later in the program, the rise of Islamic vigilantes in Indonesia, your letters, and we remember diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who died yesterday. But first, Tom Jones joins us from our studios at NPR West, and nice to have you on TALK OF THE NATION.
Mr. JONES: Thank you.
CONAN: And congratulations on your new record.
Mr. JONES: Thank you very much.
CONAN: Some people who remember the hip-shaking star with the skin-tight pants and the shirt open to the navel might wonder: Gospel?
Mr. JONES: Yeah, well, I used to sing gospel songs as a child. I went to a Presbyterian chapel, and they were hymns then, you know, and - but they became gospel songs.
And I remember being in Las Vegas with Elvis Presley in the late '60s, and Elvis loved gospel music. And we were singing in his suite one night after the shows, and I was singing along with him, you know, and he said: Have you ever recorded a gospel album? Because Elvis had - he'd recorded quite a few gospel albums. And I said no, I haven't done yet, but, you know, I will do one day. And it's taken all this time to do it, but here it is. But I've been wanting to do it for a long time because I know so many gospel songs, and they're great songs to sing. And it makes people happy in a spiritual way.
CONAN: I'm sure they do. There's a big difference, though, between, you know, gospel and, you know, the Welsh hymn. It's, you know, there's a slight difference there.
Mr. JONES: Well, not really. Some of the gospel songs, like we used to sing a song in chapel called "The Old Rugged Cross." And that, you know, I mean, people like Mahalia Jackson recorded that.
CONAN: Sure, yeah.
Mr. JONES: You know, Jerry Lee Lewis recorded it. You know, I mean, there's a lot of people that have done those songs. So, you know, some of those songs became gospel songs, but they were sung in chapel when I was a kid.
CONAN: Lyrics probably pretty close to the same. The accompaniment might have been a little different.
Mr. JONES: Yeah.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. JONES: Well, with gospel music, you know, they kick it up a notch and maybe a few notches because it's not as strict. You know, they've taken hymns, and they've gotten looser with them, you know, as far as music is - the music side of it is concerned. The lyrics are the same. The message is the same. It's just the delivery is different. And that's what I like.
So when I was listening to Mahalia Jackson, you know, as a child on the radio, I thought: Oh, my God. You know, this woman is singing these songs different to what we sing them in chapel.
So that was the first time that I was aware that, you know, American gospel music was different from what we were doing. The songs, a lot of the songs were the same, but the delivery was definitely different.
And some of the up-tempo songs like "Strange Things," you know, for instance, it reminds me of '50s rock-'n'-roll music.
Mr. JONES: It's just that, you know, the lyrics are definitely different. But it's sort of a boogie feel, which early rock 'n' roll was. So it's just the lyrical content, as far as that's concerned. But the feeling is like rockabilly. You know, it's like that.
CONAN: I want to take you back to that moment you were telling us before, up in Elvis's suite in Las Vegas. You were playing, I guess, at different hotels, and...
Mr. JONES: Yes.
CONAN: ...big shows there at night. And I guess he had the habit of taking his band, or at least a couple of members of his band, up to the room to continue to have a good time.
Mr. JONES: Yes.
CONAN: And so he would just be there performing for - I mean, how many people would be there in the room?
Mr. JONES: Well, he would bring up his - first of all, when he finished his engagement at the Hilton, he would stay on, you know, a week or two and come and see me perform. So he wasn't actually performing when we used to go back to his suite.
CONAN: Ah, I see.
Mr. JONES: And - but he'd still have his guys there. You know, all the singers would still be - they would stay on with him. So he would have four or five or sometimes six singers and an electric piano in the suite, and we would be there singing all night.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. JONES: And, you know, he would have these guys singing every gospel song that he knew. So once in a while I would jump in if I knew one of the songs.
One of the songs on this album that I've done now, this "Praise and Blame" album, there's a song on there called "Run On."
CONAN: And we'll hear your version of that.
(Soundbite of song, "Run On")
Mr. JONES: (Singing) Well, you may run on for a long time, run on for a long time, run on for a long time, sooner or later, God'll cut you down. Sooner or later, God'll cut you down.
CONAN: And that's one of Elvis's hearty perennials.
Mr. JONES: Yeah, he - we used to sing that song in his suite. And so I thought that would be a good one to do, which it is.
CONAN: It's a good number. And obviously, a precedent set by Elvis Presley, no stranger to hip-shaking and shirts open to the navel but also doing a lot of gospel albums.
Mr. JONES: Yes, you see, we were very similar in our delivery of, you know, on stage of songs that we - oh, that I still sing, you know, and that Elvis used to do.
But that gospel, you know, that's with you. I mean, in order to sing rock 'n' roll, I think you need to have those roots. You know, you need to have gospel roots and blues and rhythm and blues and some country, as well. You know, that's all the ingredients that you need to perform gospel songs in that way.
And I don't think that a lot of pop singers, you know, like crooners of the day, the big-band singers, I don't think they could have gotten to gospel music. Like Frank Sinatra, for instance, you know, I don't think Frank would've sung gospel music in that way. He might have sung a religious song, you know, but it wouldn't, it wouldn't come out in that way.
CONAN: But you think of Bing Crosby song a lot of religious songs but not gospel music.
Mr. JONES: Right. But Bing Crosby would be more in keeping with it though, I think, because his early records...
Mr. JONES: ...there were some gospel-type songs that he did in his early days. So he could have, I think, if he had wanted to.
CONAN: We're talking with Tom Jones about his new gospel album "Praise and Blame," and we want to hear from gospel fans today. Is crossover from pop stars ready for that? 800-989-8255. Email: email@example.com. Matthew's on the line from Jacksonville.
MATTHEW (Caller): Hey, gentlemen, big-time fan of both of you. I just want to make the comment to that question of is it a big deal for pop stars to become gospel? And I would pose the inverse. We've seen many, many gospel stars turn pop through the decades. And so I don't see why it would be such a big deal for a pop star to go gospel, and any comments you guys have I will listen to on the radio.
CONAN: Well, thank you, Matthew, and I just wanted to ask: From Sam Cooke to Aretha Franklin, there certainly have been a lot of people who started out in gospel and then went to more secular music, though back to gospel from time to time. But nevertheless, you do remember that Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin did get criticism for going secular, if you will.
Mr. JONES: Hmm. Well, the same thing with Ray Charles. In the movie, I don't know whether you saw it...
CONAN: Sure, yeah.
Mr. JONES: ...in the movie "Ray," his wife says to him, you know: Ray, you're taking gospel songs, and you're making pop song. You know, you're changing the words.
But the feeling was still there. You know, he said it's all God's music. You know, and that's it, really. It's just that sometimes the lyrical content is different. But the feeling of it, the essence of the music is very similar. As I was saying, in early rock 'n' roll music, I'm sure it came from gospel music originally.
CONAN: Here's an email from Debbie(ph) in Columbus: "Praise and Blame" is one of the finest gospel albums I have ever heard. Will there be a tour to accompany it?
Mr. JONES: Yeah, well, we did some shows in Europe. Some of the places that I played, funnily enough, there's a place in London called the Union Chapel, and it is a chapel. They still hold services there, but they also put shows on there.
So I went in there, and I did the album in its entirety, with the same people that were on the record, the same musicians. And the only ones that I added that I had recorded previously was "The Green, Green Grass of Home" and "It's Not Unusual" because, you know, they are not that different from the gospel music on the album.
But it works really well. It's - and I love singing it. You know, it's music that I love to sing. And you can do a show of it because there's -the difference in the songs from track to track, it's like a mini-show. You know, it's - you're not doing too many of one kind in a row.
So it works really well. So - but even if I'm doing a full show, if I'm doing a 90-minute show or even longer, you know, I can put some of those gospel songs in there because they fit really well, and I love doing that.
CONAN: More with Tom Jones in a moment; more of your calls, as well. The CD is titled "Praise and Blame." As we go to the break, here's one of the songs from that album, "Burning Hell." I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
(Soundbite of song, "Burning Hell")
Mr. JONES: (Singing) I'm going down to the crossroads with no devil. We'll I'll make a deal. I'm going down to the crossroads with no devil. We'll I'll make a deal. Maybe there ain't no heaven, no burning hell. Maybe there ain't no heaven, no burning hell. No...
(Soundbite of music)
CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan.
Our guest today: Tom Jones. You're forgiven if you're humming "It's Not Unusual" or "She's a Lady," maybe "Delilah." The new CD, though, takes a more spiritual tone. It's a blues and gospel album titled "Praise and Blame." We've heard clips from a number of songs on the disc. You can listen to one track, "Strange Things," in full. That's at npr.org. Just click on TALK OF THE NATION.
If you're a fan of gospel music, are you ready to accept crossover from pop stars? Give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the conversation at that aforementioned website, npr.org. Just click on TALK OF THE NATION.
Let's get another caller in. This is Shirley(ph), Shirley with us from Monticello in Iowa.
SHIRLEY (Caller): Yes.
CONAN: Hi there, you're on the air. Go ahead.
SHIRLEY: Hi, Tom.
Mr. JONES: Yeah.
SHIRLEY: I never thought I'd ever get to speak to you.
Mr. JONES: Oh...
SHIRLEY: When I was nine years old, I saw Elvis Presley on the TV for the first time, and I said: Who is that? And his hips were moving all the place, and I couldn't keep my eyes off it. And then when I saw you, I said: There's another one.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SHIRLEY: I said: What's new, Pussycat?
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. JONES: Well, you know...
SHIRLEY: When I was a teenager, I went nuts over you.
Mr. JONES: Oh, well, thank you very much.
CONAN: I think you were the only one, Shirley.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SHIRLEY: Oh, he was sexy.
(Soundbite of whistle)
SHIRLEY: Wow, what a doll.
CONAN: And do you like the new material, Shirley?
SHIRLEY: I haven't heard it, but just what you've, you know, played on there, on the radio, and I was listening. I'm impressed.
Mr. JONES: Good.
SHIRLEY: I did gospel music, and in high school I did plays. I did Broadway musicals on stage, was in concert, choir and - oh, you know, we sang Johann Sebastian Bach. We sang Mozart's music. But you know, to hear something like this, it's new, it's interesting.
CONAN: And it's interesting - and thank you very much for the call, Shirley, particularly that recollection - Tom Jones, something new. You're 70 years old now. You've tried a lot of different things in your life. This is something new.
Mr. JONES: Yeah. Well, for me it's going back to the start, really, because when I used to sing in pubs and clubs in Wales and dance halls and in chapel and in school, I would sing songs of that nature.
You know, when '50s rock 'n' roll first came out, and I was singing that in the pubs, I would throw in a gospel song.
CONAN: (unintelligible) What were some of the songs you were singing back then when you were just starting out?
Mr. JONES: Well, they were basically '50s rock-'n'-roll songs and some Tennessee Ernie Ford songs I liked very much, some of the boogie things that he did early in his career.
So I was working with a rhythm section, you know. So I hadn't gotten into singing with bands then, you know, with brass, and it was just a rhythm section.
And so now doing "Praise and Blame," I'm using that same lineup again. You know, it's basically a rhythm section and, you know, doing songs of that nature, you know, chord structures and songs like that.
You know, I mean, I still love(ph) - there's a ballad called "I Believe," you know, which is really - which is really a gospel song. You know, it's a religious song. And I sing that, you know, as I was saying, "The Old Rugged Cross," and you know, songs like that.
So it's like going back to the start there, you know, getting in - when I recorded in the studio with - Ethan Jones(ph) was the man that produced the album, and we got into the studio and we did it on analog, you know, on tape, rather than doing it digital, to get that authentic sound. And it was live. Every track was live...
CONAN: (Unintelligible) normally you lay down the instrumental part, and the singer then stands alone in a studio and sings to the track.
Mr. JONES: Yes. That's the way it's become. But no, we did this the old way, you know, going in there with - the way I started when I started recording. Everybody was there at the same time, and if you made a mistake, you would do the whole thing again. And that's how we did it.
So it was great. I mean, it was really down to brass tacks because we didn't use headphones. You know, it was very, very much - very little electrical, except for Ethan Jones playing the electric guitar, you know. But it was mostly acoustic, and it was a great way to do music and have it come out sound so well.
And I think it's - the way we recorded it had a lot to do with the feel of the way the music came out, and especially being gospel music, you know, it felt right. Everything felt right.
CONAN: Now, there was an email that was leaked from the vice president of your record label, Island Records, who said this record was, quote, "certainly not what we paid for," and he wondered if it was a sick joke.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: They were expecting something different?
Mr. JONES: Well, I mean, I don't know whether he was, but they knew what I was doing. You know, they - we played them the first two tracks that we recorded, and they loved it, loved them, and said, you know, carry on, with Ethan Jones producing.
And so maybe this guy - the thing that I didn't like about it, though, it was in the newspaper, and it said the vice president of Island Records. Well, he is not the vice president. He's one of them.
CONAN: Yeah, there's probably 17 vice presidents.
Mr. JONES: Well, exactly, and he's in the accounting, you know, side of it. So he has nothing to do with the creative side of music. So maybe he was expecting, when they said that they'd signed me, maybe he was expecting pop music. You know, maybe they hadn't told him that it was a gospel album. But the people - all the creative people at Island Records, they certainly knew what I was doing.
CONAN: Let's get Sam on the line. Sam's calling us from Kalamazoo.
SAM (Caller): Oh, hi. Yeah, I'm a huge fan, Tom. I can't believe I'm actually talking to you. I just, I want to thank you for doing this record. I started listening to you back in college when I got one of your records at a thrift store. It was "Live at Las Vegas."
Mr. JONES: Right.
SAM: And I loved it. And I though, you know, I mean, it's not very subtle. And then I found a whole cache of your early records, "Green, Green Grass of Home," and I got them and I just listened to them, it's just cut after cut after cut. It's just such good music. I just - I'm just a huge fan.
And I don't think that it's that confusing that you did a gospel record at this stage, because there's always been a strong subtext of religious music in all of your records, especially this early stuff.
Mr. JONES: Right, exactly.
CONAN: Sam, thanks very much for the call.
SAM: Thank you.
CONAN: You also - I've also read that you thought your voice would not have been ready, though, for this kind of a record 30 years ago.
Mr. JONES: Yeah, well, it would have been different. You know, it wouldn't have been - I think my voice is richer now. It's lower now. You know, I've got a much richer sound at - on the low end of my voice. And I think you need to live a while in order to really understand some of these songs.
You know, when you're young, you know, when I was younger, when I first started recording, you know, I was sort of - I was attacking songs a lot.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. JONES: And, you know, maybe some of the up-tempo songs would have been good then, you know, as they are now. But I think some of the more tender songs that are on the album, I think they sound better because I have lived for quite a while now. And as I say, my voice is richer. So I think the songs have benefitted from that.
CONAN: Richer. Can you still hit the hit notes you used to be able to hit?
Mr. JONES: Oh, yeah, yeah. I mean, at one time I was a tenor, you know, when I was younger, and I could hit top C's very easily. Now it's B-flat, you know, which is only a tone below. So I haven't lost much on the top, but I've gained so much on the bottom. So I - really, I started off as a tenor and I've become a baritone.
CONAN: Here's an email from Bill in Covington, Kentucky: As a young teen I recall watching your '60s TV show with my mother on a weekly basis. You had a guitar player by the name of Big Jim Sullivan. Each week you would do a duet with Big Jim. As a fledgling guitar player, I would sit and wait each week for that particular part of the show. I wanted to be able to do some of the things he did with the guitar. Was he as good a player as he seemed to me at the time?
Mr. JONES: Yeah, Big Jim was a great player. He was a session musician when I first met him. He was on all the hit records that were being made in Britain at the time, certainly all of mine, you know, and a lot of other people, and Jimmy Page also was a session musician when I - and John Paul Jones on bass. He played a lot on my records.
And so Big Jim, he started touring with me, you know, when I was touring in the late '60s, early '70s, and then with the TV show - he was in the band, you know, in my band at that time.
So he was so good, I thought we'd feature him, you know, we'd bring him on, and we'd do a song together, and a lot of the bands that came on, you know, thought that he was such a great player, and we would do things together, you know, with some rock bands that came on, and Big Jim could play.
Big Jim could play anything. You know, I mean, he was so, so good. That's what made him such a great session musician. And he's still around today. He's not very well at the moment. I've got - as a matter of fact, I have to give him a call and see, see how he is feeling.
But we were friends all through, all through that time, you know, and he's a great player. And I hope he's still, still doing well.
CONAN: Let's go next to George, George with from Peteridge(ph) in Ohio.
GEORGE (Caller): Hello, yes, this is George. Yes, I'm a musician, and recently I've gotten together with three of my friends and began recording. The first thing we did was kind of a resurrection of our old gospel roots, even though we're an agnostic, a Jew and a Baptist.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. JONES: That's a good mixture.
GEORGE: Yeah, well, the harmony worked out.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. JONES: All right.
GEORGE: But, yes, I saw Mr. Jones in Marquette, Michigan. It was a lifetime ago, in the Lakeview Arena. It was a great show. The only thing that seemed to rival it might have been one of the Dolly Parton's shows.
Mr. JONES: Oh.
GEORGE: Wonderful show.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: George, thanks very much for the call. Appreciate it.
GEORGE: Yes, thank you.
CONAN: So long. This email from Beth, listening to KCUR in Kansas City: I love Tom Jones' gospel project. I listen to Christian music and just happened cross the new album - so much joy and soul in Mr. Jones' voice. Keep it coming.
And I have to ask you about that. You're on this new project, obviously, you want to tour with it. But you're 70. What else do you want to do?
Mr. JONES: As much as possible. I want to record as many albums as I can because my voice is still working so well, thank God. You know, it's a God-given gift, and I want to use it as long as I can. And I love going on the road. I love going on stage. I love going to different countries. You know, I mean, I love everything about the business that I'm in. So I want that to go on as long as I possibly can. So I don't know when it'll stop. You know, God will let me know...
Mr. JONES: ...when I can't sing anymore. And - but until that day, I'll do more. And hopefully, we can do another album on the same lines as "Praise and Blame." I'm already talking to Ethan Johns, who produced "Praise and Blame," and we are listening to material at the moment, you know, whether we go deeper into the gospel music or country or blues. You know, I don't know which way we'll lean yet. You know, it depends on the material that comes around. But I love singing gospel songs.
CONAN: You mentioned your instrument, your voice. Do you do anything special to take care of it these days?
Mr. JONES: Well, I drink a lot of water. That's very important, you know, not to get dehydrated. I carry a humidity gauge around with me to see - because you've got to have 70 percent humidity when you sleep. Singers do, anyway.
Mr. JONES: So I have humidifiers. And I learned that a long time ago, you know, that dry air is a singer's enemy.
And I use a little lozenge called Vocalzone. It's a fantastic thing. A lot of singers use them. It was invented by a Welsh ear, nose and throat doctor in 1910. And Caruso used to use them. And so if it's good enough for Caruso, I thought, good enough for me. So, yeah. So that's it. It's a little lozenge, and it's got the menthol and licorice in it, and they're fantastic. So I use those a lot.
CONAN: We're talking with Tom Jones about his new album "Praise and Blame." You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News.
Gigi writes from Syracuse: As a musician, I have immense respect for Tom Jones' work and his powerful voice. I saw him live at a casino showroom about five years ago. I was thrilled to discover the new album a few weeks before it was released and raved about it to all my music pals. I think it's masterful.
But here's my question: Now that his going to serious roots route, will he be playing some of the smaller venues that others do to seriously legitimize this effort? How about the Iron Horse in Northampton, Massachusetts, Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, New York, Westcott Theater in Syracuse? We are ready. I think at Syracuse, they're under about three feet of snow at the moment, but they're ready.
Mr. JONES: Right. Excuse me. Well, I think it's a great idea. As I was saying earlier, well, you know, we played some smaller venues in Britain, and I also went to Scandinavia and we did some smaller venues there, you know, just with a rhythm section, and we did the album. And it was great. And we did a festival, also, called the Latitude Festival in England in the summertime. And that was - the songs went over really, really well there.
So I think it's a good idea to do some smaller places in the States with this album. I'm open for that. So we are, again, trying to put these things together. So a lot of the places that I would normally play haven't been put in for next year, because we're looking for different venues in order to do the "Praise and Blame" album.
CONAN: Robert's on the line from Platteville in Wisconsin.
ROBERT (Caller): Mr. Jones, good afternoon.
Mr. JONES: Good afternoon.
ROBERT: You've mentioned artists like Mahalia Jackson. Are there any contemporary gospel artists you like to listen to? And then I had one other brief question for you.
Mr. JONES: Hmm. Well, there are singers that I know that do sing gospel songs. I mean, I don't know too many real gospel singers today. You know, none - some of the younger ones, I don't know. But people, you know, like Aretha Franklin, you know, she's - she sings gospel when she wants to. You know, I mean, and I think she's got a great voice. There's a lot...
CONAN: One of your tunes on this record is by the well-known gospel star, Bob Dylan.
Mr. JONES: Well, you know, Bob Dylan, he wrote the first song on there. And he - you know, he's gone that way sometimes. He did an album that had a lot of gospel songs on it.
Mr. JONES: So - yeah. There's a song called "What Good Am I" which is the first track on the album, which is a Bob Dylan song, and it's a religious song. So...
CONAN: Robert, you had another question?
ROBERT: Yes, Mr. Jones. And speaking of writing, you also have several writers' credits on this record. Could you talk a little bit about the inspiration behind the song "Nobody's Fault but Mine"? And thank you for your time today.
Mr. JONES: Well, thank you. "Nobody's Fault but Mine," that - I wanted to do that song because I've been in those situations when things have happened - like for instance, earlier on this year, I was on tour, and people were saying to me, my God, Tom. You know, your voice is still as powerful as ever. Isn't it wonderful? And I'm saying, yeah, yeah. I -you know, yeah. I am as powerful, you know, thinking, you know, and I was - I got - I think I got a little carried away, you know, thinking it was my voice, you know, rather than a God-given gift.
And so when I was thinking like that, I woke up one day, and I had this acid reflux had come up in the night. And I couldn't sing the following day. And - so I think that's what happens when you think like that. You know, God gives you a tap. So it's - that song reminds me of that, you know, not to get too sure of yourself. It's - you're only there because God put you there and your talent, you know, nine times out of 10 is a God - especially with my talent, my voice, you know, it's a God-given gift. So I credit God with that, not myself.
CONAN: We'll end with this email from Laura in Oakland: I love Tom Jones, raised my daughters on his voice. He can sing anything, absolutely anything. Gospel is a great vehicle for his voice. Please ask him to do an all-classic rock-and-roll CD, the Stones, Eurythmics, et cetera - please, please. I don't know if she added another please. She'd be asking you to do James Brown.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. JONES: Right. Well, it's - sometimes it is difficult to know which way to go, because I do like a lot of different kinds of music. And -but, you know, at the moment, and hopefully the next album, as well, will be of a gospel nature.
CONAN: Well, Tom Jones, good luck with the project, and thanks very much for coming in today.
Mr. JONES: My pleasure. Thank you.
CONAN: The record is "Praise and Blame." This is NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.