VIDEO: Ex Ashby School Pupil Sally Gives 'Unusual' 80th Birthday Gift To Sir Tom Jones

  Posted: 09.06.20 at 22:22 by By Graham Hill

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Former Ashby School pupil Sally Barker has re-recorded one of Sir Tom Jones’ greatest hits as a present for the star’s 80th birthday.

Sally was runner-up in TV’s The Voice six years ago where Sir Tom was her mentor.

And it was during her time on the programme that she started to re-work the 1965 No1 hit ‘It’s Not Unusual’.

But it was not until recently that Sally completed her version - before releasing it on You Tube last weekend to mark Sir Tom’s milestone birthday.

You can see the video and hear the song above.

And Sally - who grew up near Measham and went to school in Ashby - plans to let Sir Tom hear it soon.

Sally during her time on The Voice

Sally told Ashby Nub News: “I didn’t want to send it over last weekend as I think he would have been too busy celebrating.

“So I’ll get in touch with his management in a couple of days’ time.

“As far I as I know, he hasn’t heard it yet. I thought it was better to wait.”

The song was a genuine family production with Sally’s two sons Ben and Dillon also involved in the recording.

She added: “It’s from way back when I was on The Voice, it was during the latter stages of the competition, they asked each of us if there was something we’d like to do, they wanted ideas.

Sally playing at the Tree Festival in Salisbury

“There was always a music team that liaised with the mentors and talked through suggestions.

“I said that I’d been toying with the idea of doing a slow version of, It’s Not Unusual. I did a really terrible demo! I had a cold at the time.

“I had it in my head but it didn’t really relay itself so they moved on to a different idea.

“So it’s actually been percolating in my brain for quite a long time, and I think Lockdown provided the ideal time to do it.

“It also surfaced at the beginning of last year after I’d broken my arm, I was doing some gigs with a trio that I’m in called Iota.

Sally appeared on The Voice in 2014

“We played at the Venture Theatre in Ashby a few years ago and people would know the trio.

“I couldn’t play the guitar so we had to radically change the set and I explained to the girls in the band what I wanted to do with It’s Not Unusual.

“Then, before Lockdown, Anna, the pianist came over and we just had a go at it.

“But then it was shoved away, however when Lockdown did happen I started to work on it.

“I asked Anna, a multi-instrumentalist, to record some horns which she did from home. She sent them over to me and I did the rest. It’s very simple, I wanted a full production with strings and everything.

Sally wore shades for this gig

“But it’s not that easy, and, in retrospect, it has a simplicity to it which I think is really touching. I could’ve ruined it by putting too much on it. But it’s difficult to communicate to musicians what I want at the moment.

“I wanted to put it out on Sir Tom’s birthday so I mixed it and got my sons to join in with me. My eldest has a production degree and so do I.”

Sally explained that Lockdown did not limit her in terms of recording the song.

She added: “I’ve got a music studio in my laptop, plus good microphones and speakers.

“But I call it my Chicken **** studio because I grew up on a farm and my dad raised chickens. He said there was a room I could use if I cleared it out, it was full of chicken ****.

“So that’s what I did. So wherever I record, that’s the name of my studio, it’s not the nicest name.

“But the video had had around 9,000 views after just a couple of days.”

Sally explained that her TV appearances did give her career a boost at first.

But although she was offered a deal with Island Records she did not accept it.

Sally added: “The Voice helped me for a couple of years but then I decided to remain stubborn and remain in the folky-type circles.

“I was offered a deal after The Voice, they wanted me to do an album of cover versions but at the time, I wanted to do my own songs.

“I was offered a deal by Island and now I think, why didn’t I do it? What a journey that would’ve been but I went on my own path and recorded my own album called Ghost Girl.”

But Sally - like everyone else - has no idea when live gigs will happen again.

She added: “At the moment, everything’s been deferred. Gigs have been postponed until next year and everyone’s hoping the live music industry will resurface.

“We’ll just have to hold our breath and a lot of places may not survive. Fortunately, there’s been Government help but it’s a case of keeping our heads down and when we look up, let’s see who’s still standing.

“I’ve done a couple of online gig and on the 24th June I’m doing something for the Green Note Cafe in Camden.

“But with no live gigs it’s a dreadful situation to be in.”

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