Tom Jones’ new Christian album is a “sick joke” — at least that the word from Island Records Vice-President David Sharpe. The Welsh singer, 70, (best known for hits like “It Ain’t Unusual” and “What’s New Pussycat) is tapping into his spiritual side with the July 26 release of a new Christian album, Praise & Blame, however Island/EMI bosses are said to be less than impressed with Jones’ latest offering.

Sharpe, who signed Jones to EMI Recordings in 2009, is particularly disappointed with the collection and demanded that the project be scrapped out after hearing the spiritual tone of the songs.

“My initial pleasure came to an abrupt halt when I realized that Tom Jones was singing the hymns! I have just listened to the album in its entirety and want to know if this is some sick joke???” Sharpe hollered in a leaked email, obtained by The Telegraph this week. “We did not invest a fortune in an established artist for him to deliver 12 tracks from the common book of prayer. Having lured him from EMI, the deal was that you would deliver a record of upbeat tracks along with the lines of ‘Sex Bomb’ and ‘Mama Told Me…’” the note continued.

Some reports are speculating that Sharpe’s emailed outburst is part of the promotion of the album, considering that the rant, dated May 19, was released just in time for the album’s debut later this month.

Despite the scandal, Sharpe is unrepetent about his comments, grunting that he “paid for a Mercedes but ended up with a ‘hearse.’” The label reportedly plucked down $2.3 million to sign Tom.

For his part, Jones says he’s proud of Praise & Blame: “I’ve been into spiritual music since I was a kid. We always sang a lot of gospel stuff in the chapel and at funerals. Even though sometimes it’s sad, it’s also uplifting.”

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