As a break-off from Atlantic Records back in 1955, Atco Records served as home to non-soul / jazz / blues records throughout the early 1960’s and 1970’s, most notably Cream, Vanilla Fudge, Tim Hardin, and an early 1961 Beatles 7″ featuring Tony Sheridan (though some sources claim 1964). Before turning focus to mid-1970’s hard rock, Atco released catalog no. 33-210, which just so happens to be Tim Hardin’s earliest recordings (1963-ish), This is Tim Hardin. If the catchy logo doesn’t grab ya’, the historical significance of this genius’ earliest recordings should be enough to peak some interest, or at the very least, demand a spin on a random Thursday night.
Happy to welcome my first colored Tim Hardin record into the library. To my knowledge, it’s the only one, and a German pressing to boot. Titled The Homecoming Concert, this live performance was recorded in the songwriter’s home town the same year of his untimely death, and is rumored to have been his last live performance, though, the jury is still out on that claim.
Willie Nelson – Red Headed Stranger
George Thorogood & the Destroyers – More George Thorogood & the Destroyers
Minutemen – The Punch Line
The Statler Brothers – The Best of the Statler Brothers
Tim Hardin – This is Tim Hardin (mono)d
Underworld – MMM Skyscraper, I Love You
Finishing up my Tim Hardin discography has been a frustrating and bitter experience. Having paid handsomely for his last album, Unforgiven, only to have it mysteriously disappear without a trace or explanation from USPS has left me to question online orders altogether. I could care less about my $40… but I’ll be damned if I’ll pay another $40 ($80 in total) for another copy… on principle alone, dammit!! Sure, I may be slow to let the anger subside, (truthfully, aren’t we all?) but with time, and a Discogs.com Wantlist, I’ve logically returned to my senses. This, a recent online order, was a domestic shipment of a Russian pressed record. It came perfectly packaged, and was adequately and promptly delivered (meaning I got something I paid for). USPS is still on my shit list, as, I imagine, it is for the bulk of you, but with hostile acceptance for wrongful treatment aside, and however described, this household is able to enjoy the subtle genius of yet another Tim Hardin pressing.
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.
Not unlike the London / Parrot / Coliseum advertinsert from last April, this London / Parrot / Deram insert features, once again, Them, the Stones, and The Zombies under the “teen beat” umbrella, but this time around sporting a seasonably fashioned blue trim. My SO mentioned the other night how I hadn’t done an insert post in a while. Truth be told, I’m desperately running low on inserts, so… off to the local brick and mortar I go for another blaze orange hunt for early Kinks, late Hardin, and vibrant record inserts. Happy Friday, kids!
If there ever was a reason to believe, it would be based in the intellectual knowledge and overall creative fortitude of the exalted Tim Hardin. A Record Store Day exclusive back in 2013, and limited to 1000 copies, Reason to Believe – The Songs of Tim Hardin is a collection of elegant covers boasting a sad, yet respectful tribute to the self-proclaimed black sheep boy.
I’ll admit that I was a little underwhelmed on first spin, having been wet from the clouded storm of Tim Hardin songs performed by Tim Hardin, but once expectation fell asleep, these sumptuous covers stand their ground, and act as a reverent accompaniment to the vast Hardin library. It’s a pleasurable listen, and worthy of a proper, clear-headed spin.
One wonders if Dr. Johnny Fever ever favored Mr. Hardin, and if the Cincinnati crowd ever embraced the heavyhearted songwriter quite like I have. There are a few notches on the Tim Hardin belt that I bet ol’ J. Fever would have enjoyed spinning, and somewhere, in the deep, orange and brown decorated closet of my imagination, a groove or two from Mr. Hardin may very well have found its way onto Mr. Fever’s plate, and was offered for all the Cincinnati area to enjoy.
If Tim Hardin lives, he’s certainly on the air in Cincinnati. Cincinnati, WKRP.
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.
Because the only way to stop a Tim Hardin train from derailing is a head-on collision with a low-hanging bridge of fate (and that can mean whatever the hell you want it to mean). My latest obsession is now in its third phase of its (six-part) metamorphosis, the phase I call, “The Later Works of Tim that Didn’t Sell Very Well, and That are Generally Difficult to Find.”
The next phase, phase four, is “Formal Completion of Tim’s Studio Albums,” which will kick into gear as soon as my 1970 copy of Suite for Susan Moore and Damion arrives at my doorstep (likely within seven days). The later albums, I’ve come to find, offer much more sentimentality than Tim’s earlier efforts, but still maintain that biting cleverness and songwriting craftsmanship that demand constant and continuous play.
I’m in a Tim Hardin-sized coma, and I hope I never open my eyes again.
Short retort tonight, as the warm, guilty rays from the Hardin Sun cast fervent necessity that borderlines an acute obsession upon me and mine during these last few (years) weeks. I’ve gone so far as to hunt down the “Electronically Re-Recorded to Simulate STEREO” version of This is Tim Hardin to accompany the original mono version, and I have, today, decided it was worth a few good, conscious hours to digitize both albums for digital enjoyment. I’ve yet to find the proper ear-apparatus to showcase the difference between the two, but as with any obsession, logic gets second billing.
RIP James Timothy Hardin.
Whilst listening to Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, it’s beyond evident to conclude, that although magnificent and majestic in his own right, Tim Hardin’s Tim Hardin 3 is much more socially acceptable than 1980’s FFfRV. I acknowledge that, of course, Mr. Hardin’s live offering is just, if not more fruitful as DK’s studio performance.. and all-the-more vibrant, I’m just exhausted and unable to prolong the unimaginable fight.
Tim Hardin > The Dead Kennedys
How a “Best of” album can be fathomed (let alone released) after only two studio albums (out of nine) is far beyond my feeble comprehension, yet, such is the case with The Best of Tim Hardin. Comprised of a single disc cutdown of Tim Hardin 1 and Tim Hardin 2, this 11-track comp, although magnificent beyond all audible understanding, lies through its teeth with its brags and boasts that this is in fact the best that Tim Hardin had to offer. Does it contain his early, and most pop-centric hits? Sure. Does it contain If I Were A Carpenter and Reason to Believe? Of course. Is it a well-rounded sense of this man’s brilliant songwriting ability, well thought out, considering his lengthy body of work? Not a chance in hell. For my money (I own it twice, and bought it three times), it doesn’t get any better than This is Tim Hardin, a worthy and presentable alternative as an adequate “Best of.”
I was able to find a stereo copy of This is Tim Hardin today at a thrifty little (unorganized) shop down in Long Beach. Already having been the owner of the original mono version, I couldn’t turn my back on this artificial (only because it was electronically re-recorded to simulate STEREO) stereo version for a cool $6. Possibly the best record I’ve ever laid ears on, I managed to acquire both copies the guy had (stereo for me, mono for a fellow Hardin-admiring buddy).
I am currently in possession of three This is Tim Hardin albums, and something tells me, it’s not enough.
“Are you ready to check out? You want both copies?!” – Guy
“Yes, guy! I have cash… why do you question the willing?” – Me, in my head
Quite possibly the most favored album in my collection, Atco Records’ 1967 released, 1963-64 recorded genius of pop music’s most overlooked son, James Timothy Hardin, This is Tim Hardin redefines perfection with each and every longing, soul-squirming spin. I can’t even begin to explore the majestic landscape that this harrowing album presents, and I’m not g’wan try. At a later date, with a much more educated mind, I’ll tackle the dynamic and vigorous layers of brilliance that this album exerts, but until then, I’ll drink my rye, and simply… enjoy.