Last in the Tim Hardin (b 1941, d 29 Dec 1980) postings… this one steeped in his beautifully-flawed 1970s pop-soul gravitas
Tim Hardin - Never too far
(from the album ‘Nine’)
Q. Legend has it that Dylan once said you were the greatest song writer of our time when that album (Tim Hardin 1) came out.
Tim Hardin: Yea, I played him part of the album one night and he started flipping out… he got down on his knees in front of me and said: Don’t change your singing style…
The photograph below (by Joel Davis) is probably the last taken of Tim at a homecoming concert in Eugene, Oregon in 1980. He looks somewhat raggity but happy.
He never managed to get clean from drugs tho, despite the claims in his final interview, republished here (scroll down the page). Interviews with Tim of any kind are extremely rare, so despite the obvious caginess (and the stupid introductory “Before there was Dylan…” line) this one is still fascinating, but not easy reading.
I will be doing my best impersonation of a late-bearded Tim at the Horse & Groom tonight, along with a few Tim-loving friends. SHould be fun.
Thirty Pounds of Bone - You can’t break up at Christmas (so let’s get it over with)
This song’s a wonderful riposte to the usual Christmas cheer. Johnny 30LOB played it to close his set at the Westhill charity all-dayer recently and it went down a storm. Can’t be doing with all these endless tidings of comfort and joy myself…
I’m not sure they’re the best albums of 2011 because there have been so many albums released nobody could possibly listen to them all, not properly. But these are the ones that I’ve been impressed with the most, have lived with a bit and that I’ve enjoyed a lot.
I could do another list of all the albums that were issued this year that sound really worthwhile and I ought to listen to. That’s kind of at the end. Maybe we can all agree not to make any more music in 2012 so we can all catch up? Just focus on the live stuff next year. It’s not going to happen, is it?
Oh well. I tried.
It’s all good people.
1 Wilco, the whole love
I’ve never been mad for Wilco, but this album is just brilliant - full of big songs with strong lyrics and big riffs. The extra EP that came with early editions of the album is excellent also.
2 Kurt Vile, Smoke ring for my halo
This was a surprise - mercurial songs that just get inside your head, your bloodstream, seemed like a fog to seep into every pore. That guitar should get monotonous, but this album completely rocks.
3 Mary Hampton, folly
An astounding album from a brilliant artist (“a national treasure” as one review put it). I’ve liked everything Mary’s done, but this album is her best yet - strange, poetic and beautiful, magical. Live, she is also unmissable and her Cotillion band provide a fitting orchestral backing.
4 Laura Marling, a Creature I don’t know
This album took longer to spark as the production is quite modest and subtle, but the songs are amazing - showing real emotional depth and soul. People still talk about her youth but, as with her previous two albums, Laura marling is just a heck of a great songwriter.
5 Ryan Adams, ashes and fire
Always capable, but arguably a little too over-productive, Ryan Adams’ return produced a very fine record full of memorable tunes.
6 The Great Park, Now wash your hands
Another year, another collection of new songs. After the classic album The Wife in 2009, and last year’s somewhat spartan If You Can Hold It Then You Can Throw It, this year’s offering Now Wash Your Hands brought a strong collection of TGP songs (alienation, escape, the usual…) with some fine accompanying musicianship that gives the whole album a spaghetti western feel. Find it here
7 Decemberists, the King is dead
I don’t think I played this album at all in the latter half of the year, but released way back in January it was still a standout piece of work from a ban d that could have out-lived their welcome but keep seeming to carve out their own special niche. And this was indie music that sold millions in the USA too.
8 Monarchs, the Rise and fall
From Austen, Texas this band produced a couple of brilliant EPs that disappeared into the ether, and then this independently produced album that may well do the same. It shouldn’t tho, because Monarch lead Celeste Griffin is a terrific songwriter with a gorgeous girl-next-door voice. Find the album here
9 Marissa Nadler, Marissa Nadler
Something about Marissa’s songwriting, dream-like vocals and spartan will-o-the-wisp guitar playing seemed to gel on this self-titled fourth album, the first that has been completely self-produced and self-released. Available here
10 Birdengine, the Crooked mile
Can’t recall if I first heard this in its limited online release end of last year or beginning of this, but its been a long-time coming and well worth the wait. Strange gothic folk like nothing else - with some meaty rhythm going down on the opening track too. There’s also a fine mini-album of extras that could easily have made the final cut, and a beautiful 7” release - all here if you want them
and as a special bonus, this here is the extrordinary
(which is possibly my cover of the year, although the Songs for Chris Knox double CD ‘Stroke’ may win out in the cover album stakes overall)
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Well that’s it.
No room on the list for some fine albums by Thirty Pounds of Bone, Pharis and Jason Romero, Thunderegg, Josh T Pearson, Radiohead, Trembling Bells, Alela Diane, Herman Dune, Carrie Elkin, Abigail Washburn, Joe Henry, Gillian Welch, the Low Anthem, The Civil Wars, The Leisure Society, Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, Iron & Wine, Dolorean, P J Harvey and more.
And some lovely EPs from the likes of Allyssen Callery, Rowan Coupland, Diamond Family Archive and others.
Now, at ease music-folk. No more recording please - I need to catch up with all the other good stuff you released this year x