14 April 2015

Tim Hardin - 1966 - Tim Hardin 1

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.25 out of 5

An A-list songwriter plagued with a C-list career.  Tim Hardin was one of the main templates for the singer-songwriter, although I imagine he might have had more Brill Building aspirations.  While this release wheels around a tight corner of rock, folk, and blues, it's 1966 and just enough grooviness seeps on through the arrangements to place Hardin under the watch of our psychedelic eye.  It's not completely dissimilar from another Tim's debut, but where Tim Buckley is on a vision quest of elliptical philosophy, Hardin's a little more down in the grit.  He can't trapse upon a five octive range like Buckley can, but he's more convincing with the world-weary rasp that powers the bluesy tunes he like "Smugglin' Man," "How Long," and "Ain't Gonna Do Without."

The highlights here I guess are going to depend on your love for arrangement syrup.  "Misty Roses" glides along the bossa nova stratosphere, and "It'll Never Happen Again" throws a full-on mid-60's L.A. session arrangement into the mix.  Again, the man has no trouble penning a tune, so you may appeal more to the more stripped down and pulsing "Smugglin' Man."  The lyrics do serve as a signifier for the later Rock Mountain High of the 70's singer-songwriters.  Of course we'll give Hardin the benefit of time as it wasn't yet a cliche when putting together the lyrics of something like "Reason To Believe."

This is an album that was never meant for the stratosphere, but certainly deserves the same notoriety as the Buckley's.  If you've got the disposition for the dawn of soft rock bolstered with just a touch of leftover sludge from the Mississippi Delta, then this is definitely one for you.

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