As a general rule of thumb, it’s often and widely understood that starting with the first album by any new artist as an appropriate and logical decision to make. Not the case with Tim Hardin’s first album, Tim Hardin 1 I’ll have you know. His 1966 debut was officially his first record, but it wasn’t his first, or even the second recorded. 1967’s This is Tim Hardin and 1968’s Tim Hardin 4 were both recorded prior to the release of Tim Hardin 1, and I’ll say again (like a broken record), both are by far his best outputs. Sure, Tim Hardin 1 has Reason to Believe, a song in which he wrote, but that which Rod Stewart made famous, and sure it has Smugglin’ Man (a personal favorite), and of course How Can We Hang On to a Dream (another which he wrote), that was covered by Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Fleetwood Mac, but newbies to the Tim Hardin carnival should start at the beginning, with This is Tim Hardin. Thank yourself now, and thank yourself later. You’ve had a rough week… treat yourself.
Originally released on 1966’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme by the great Paul & Art, Harpers Bizarre, Santa Cruz, CA’s own pop-rock (and Mt. Dew) favorites, staked their claim in the soil of hip-tified-radio-extravaganza with their cover of 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) from their debut album, 1967’s Feelin’ Groovy. Feelin’ Groovy? No, seriously… feelin’ pretty damn far-out? Hip your lobes to some Harp Biz, my friend.
In 1966, Tim Hardin released his first studio album, Tim Hardin 1, and on this radiant release was not a reason to wonder, but instead a Reason to Believe, that Tim Hardin was, in fact, a timeless (and ultimately reckless) force, begging to be messed with.
The album’s third track, Smugglin’ Man, paints a greasy, underhanded picture of a deceitful man, THE man, able and willing to supply illegal substances to, among others, the Indians, the Arabs, and the Jews. This man of opportunity is, of course, Tim himself, or “Timmie” as the song goes. Be it guns, whiskey, gin or blatantly put, “anything illegal,” Tim was your late night go-to guy. Yes, Smugglin’ Man is a hell-of-a rockin’ R&B ditty, sung by a demon with an angel’s voice.
Cut to 1970’s compilation album, Tim Hardin.
Capitalizing on Tim’s breakout success of the late 60s, Tim Hardin (the album, not the man) was yet another repackaged, “Best of,” whose 9 (of 10) tracks made up the bulk of his first two albums (Tim Hardin 1 and Tim Hardin 2, naturally). I’m a completist sucker, so I had to have Tim Hardin, even though I’d already owned these songs two, and some even three times over.
All of this is very well, nice and good, but the (long-winded) message at heart, here, is that there is a hilarious oversight printed on this comp’s front cover. Instead of a rum-runnin’ man with a deviant mind for smugglin’, is instead a jaunty fellow with the habit for snuggling. As it’s printed, Snuggling Man paints a much different, and more family friendly picture than the gin-smugglin’, whiskey-sellin’ scar on the pale face of morality.
So, if you’re familiar with the song, here’s a little gift, smuggled, and snuggled, from me, to you…
I’m an old time snugglin’ man and I know just what to do
I’m an old time snugglin’ man and I know just what to do
I sell guns to the Arabs,
I sell dynamite to the Jews
– Lyrics by Tim Hardin, snuggler extraordinaire.
So, the hi-fi is on the fritz. Well, that’s nothing a trip to the local hardware store, and the local pharmacy can’t fix (or so I’m hoping). How something is programmed to revolve at precisely 33.33 rpms is beside me in the first place, but one thing (has been) is painfully clear… the living room turntable needs fixing.
Today’s laborious result = still needs a bit of work, but at least this 1966 motor is as crystal as Palmolive dish soap.
Now that the holidays are over (New Years isn’t so much a holiday as yet another excuse to party in excess), we can return to normal ramblings geared towards “real” music. You’ve gotta’ love the holidays, but man did I overdo it this year on the holiday ear candy.
I’ll try to get through this as quickly as possible, as I can’t help but assume you are still enjoying awkward family time. For the past four or so years, December has come to mean a few things: 1) the smog is down, 2) due to the mass number of LA transplants, there is a yearly exodus which leaves the streets clean and clear for the rest of us, and 3) for whatever reason, it’s Monk Time.
What is this Monk Time, you ask? Well, Curious Carl (not to be confused with Cowboy Curtis), Monk Time is that very special time of year when the inner monster craves the Earth-shattering sound of the original anti-Beatles. This sheer, rabid dog approach to 1965’s rock n’ roll was light-years ahead of its time, and although they only released one album (in Germany in 1966), these Five Upstart Americans (soldiers as they were) broke the mold with their inventive brand of cathartic, yet surprisingly melodic music. The Monks could be considered garage rock, if that garage were engulfed in flames and moments away from collapsing on itself threatening the lives of everyone within a three-house radius. If you’ve heard of the Monks, this is certainly not news, but if you haven’t, watch the documentary Transatlantic Feedback, and bug your local record store until they acquire for you a copy of Black Monk Time. Certain bands demand attention for their historic significance, and the Monks certainly fit that bill. I’m still in the market for my (obviously) reissue of Black Monk Time (originals go for over $600), but for now I’ll settle for the repackaged and almost identical 2011 release, Black Time.
What’s better than an Extended Play 33 1/3 rpm Hi-Fidelity Record on George Washington? An Extended Play 33 1/3 rpm Hi-Fidelity Record on George Washington narrated by Art Baker, that’s what! And what’s more, a Collector’s Edition Presidential Commemorative Medallion… specially minted coin replica of one of America’s legendary leaders! It’s raining awe over here at The Prudent Groove, and I’ll be damned if I’m going for my umbrella.
You will want the handsome plaque, specially designed to display the entire collection of Presidential Commemorative Medallions. Ask your dealer!
Don’t tell me what I want, 1966 Kaysons International LTD.! I am fully capably of deciding for myself. I don’t need you telling me, okay? Okay.
(Man, I could really use a nice, specially designed plaque with which to display my Commemorative Presidential Medallions… damn you, 1966 Kaysons International LTD.!)
Yesterday was a good day in terms of record pecking. I was able to find the following four albums (two firsts and two comps) for relatively cheap (it’s not only about the find… it’s also about the deal, as you all well know).
First up is The Rolling Stones’ self-titled debut, The Rolling Stones. Now, there were two copies of this album over at Record Surplus, and both sleeves were in pretty good shape. The copy I left behind was priced at $35, but the version I brought home was only $5. Record Surplus is thoughtful enough to provide listening stations (available, albeit restrictive, in five minute intervals). The record looked a bit choppy, but after a test spin, it proved to be only visually perverted. Score one for The Groove!
Second is Tim Hardin’s first album, Tim Hardin 1. I’m absolutely loony over Tim Hardin’s brand of white boy blues (after discovering his 1967 released, 1963-1964 recorded album, This is Tim Hardin). If you don’t know Tim Hardin, you don’t know anguish. It’s as simple as that.
Third and fourth are two of the three part series of early 80s UK punk comps titled, Punk and Disorderly. I’d first heard of these comps via NOFX lyrics in the song, Punk Guy that go “He should’ve been on the cover of Punk and Disorderly.” With 16 tracks apiece, I eagerly look forward to angry meditations in UK punk.
So, there you have it. British Invasion, White Boy Blues, and early UK Punk. Not bad for a stroll down to the corner shop.
Would you buy this album for $1.84 + CA state tax? Look at it! It’s got mold or something all over the sleeve. The hell?! On one hand, The Kinks Greatest Hits! is a bit of a farce to begin with, what with it not containing ANYTHING from The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One OR Muswell Hillbillies, but it does possess a b side that rivals any five track early Kinks comp I’ve ever heard… but it’s moldy, or whatever… but it’s The Kinks!… but look at it!… its got A Well Respected Man on it, and it’s only $1.84…
Would you buy this album for $1.84 + CA State tax? Well, you can’t. I already did.
You wouldn’t know by listening to it, but it’s actually a pretty short song. Clocking in at only 1:49, April Come She Will is the shortest track on the 1966 masterpiece, Sounds of Silence. Although written by Paul, April’s sweet melodic melon collie was sung by Art. It must have been difficult for Mr. Garfunkel to go to work each day. I mean, sure, Art Garfunkel is great in his own right… great singer, great range, but his partner is Paul freakin’ Simon! One wonders how powerful Simon & Garfunkel would have been without Art. Maybe he was the man behind the successful curtain. Who knows?
April Come She Will is the prefect soundtrack for those moments when you just wished you were somewhere else. Alone, walking between silent, somber trees, or alone, walking amongst a sea of warm strangers, this dreary song reminds us that new eventually becomes old, and judging by the song’s length, how quickly that can happen. A kind of hopeless notion if you think about it.
May April offer you blossoming new beginnings, and may September not rob you of the aging beauty of those beginnings. Old doesn’t need to lose its alluring frenzy. We just need to be reminded of how new it once was. Here’s hoping September doesn’t forget to remind us.
I am a sucker for antique record paraphernalia. Be it cheesy “as seen on bad 70’s TV” record cleaners, random manuals to record players I’ve never owned, or in this case my 1966 Philco High-Fidelity All-Transistor Stereophonic Radio-Phonograph.
Nearly a decade ago back in film school I was prop shopping for a 1960’s period short film I was involved with. Now, thanks to my mother I’ve always been a frugal shopper, so when digging around one of Ventura, CA’s many antique shops I immediately perused the booths near the back of the store that featured items at 50% off. While on this hunt for cheap, yet relevant 60’s era props I came across this pristine phonograph. At first glance of this beautiful cabinet record player, and without even seeing the price tag, I was instantly fixated on becoming its ultimate and inevitable owner. When I saw the price tag of $80 I nearly wet myself. $40 + tax later she was mine. I called my buddy Omar, who had a flat bed and we hauled it off to set. It didn’t have a dominant presence in the final short film, but when the shoot was over I found myself the proud owner of an amazing piece of stereophonic machinery.
The LP on the platter is Johnny Cash’s 1957 debut Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar, which would have been just 9 years old when this High-Fidelity All-Transistor Stereophonic Radio-Phonograph was manufactured and sold.
For nearly 10 years ol’ Philco has moved with me a total of five times. She’s always dominated every living room she’s inhabited and still sounds as good today as she did the day I brought her home. Not bad for being 47 years old.
I enjoy imagining what the manufacturers at the Philco Corporation back in 1966 would think of the music I play on this phonograph now. I doubt they’d be as much into N.E.R.D., The Revolting Cocks or Drive Like Jehu as I am.
Having to check, TWICE, that the beginning of this album was indeed on 33 1/3 (instead of on 45rpm, duh), I’m willingly forced to adjust my expectations so that they’re broad enough to ingest the enormity of this electronic Grand Canyon (other alternatives could be, the Pacific Ocean and/or Nic Cage’s forehead).
Labeled as Space Age Pop, Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley cut and paste an album containing, what they imagined the music of their future (our past) had to offer. HOLY FUGG, DID THEY MISS THE MARK! But, as you continue to listen to this borderline children’s album (because it’s so unbelievably and unquestionably playful), the creative objective takes backseat to the subconscious joy that The In Sound offers to the willing cerebral cortex via the fordable musical river known as the human ear canal (canals if listening in stereo).
It would be soulfully wrong to do a write-up of this album and NOT comment on the Beastie Boys (RIP MCA). Grand Royal’s 1994 release by the Beastie Boys, similarly titled, The In Sound from Way Out! offers no similarities with regard to the grooves, but whose cover and title were based off of this 1966 classic. It was actually the Beastie Boys’ cover that I initially saw, and I had no earthly idea that it was an homage until I saw my Perry-Kingley’s In Sound in a small record shop off Clark Street in Chicago. It sometimes takes one a bit of time to dig back through the pages of music history to find historic references to modern pop culture (well, as modern as 1994 at least).
Now, back to the album at hand (and in ear… sorry about that). It’s really a shame that no one has ever invented a form of dance that could accompany this kind of audio bliss. It would have to combine the Chicken with Square or Ballroom Dancing, but, you know, served with like 12 pots of coffee. Sure, there have been a few advancements in humanity over the past 46 years, but there has also been some MUCH needed social growth that has fallen way too short. The Way Out Dance tops that list.
I don’t mean to discredit the technical achievement that Perrey-Kingsley display on this album, and I furthermore don’t want you to see this as an unlistenable album. For the adventurous listener seeking something uplifting, cheerful, very dated and somewhat historical (if you’re a Beastie Boys fan), or someone just wanting to hear what 1966’s version of the “future” was, The In Sound from Way Out! definitely deserves at least one spin.
Having said that, I can’t imagine hearing any of these tracks reverberating off the walls at any of the clubs here in Los Angeles (not that I have any idea what kind of music is played at these clubs), or softly emitting from the stereo at your next casual dinner party.
What I’m saying is that you need to be in the mood to listen to this album. Some people, I imagine, never feel that mood strike. And that’s fine. Others are amazed when they discover a 28-year-old connection between their favorite band and an album they never knew existed, purchase said album, then are extremely disappointed when they giddily give it a spin. I fault high expectations. But I don’t fault the music. I’ve grown to appreciate it. Perhaps, you will too.
End of side 2
Lovingly edited by Jillian Kenney. Reluctantly edited by Jason Hardwick.