Ever heard of Tim Hardin? No? Well, unless you’re not very into music, the chance you’ve heard about this greatly overlooked singer/songwriter is fairly slim.
Tim Hardin is overlooked and forgotten to an extent of Nick Drakeian measures, at least when reviewing Drake status 20 years ago. Nobody but true connoisseurs had heard about the tall, sensitive, mythic and charismatic Englishman who allegedly committed suicide by swallowing a handful of antidepressants about a hundredandtwentyeight years ago back in November 1974. At the first half of the 1990s, something happened to Drake’s reputation. Deservedly. During his brief lifetime, he only released two albums, but they are both truly peerless. Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left. Nick Drake – Bryter Layter. Start out with Bryter Layter. It’s Drake’s definitive party record…
So how come Tim Hardin is so overlooked? He wrote great originals, in particular at the end of the sixties, before heroin made him incapable of being anything more than an addict: “Don’t Make Promises”, “Green Rocky Road”, “Black Sheep Boy”, “It’s Hard to Believe in Love for Long”, “Tribute to Hank Williams”….the list goes on. Many of his originals were transformed into masterpieces by others: “Reason to Believe” by Rod Stewart, “Red Balloon” was recorded by The Small Faces, “If I were a Carpenter” was covered by Johnny Cash (no, I’m mentioning the Top 10 Bobby Darin version which probably by far filled Hardin with more royalty smack than any other of his self-penned songs). He even turned out to be a great interpreter of other artist’s material, the most (and only) renowned being Bobby Darin’s “Simple Song of Freedom”, but Jesse Winchester’s “Yankee Lady” and Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on the Wire” are even better (even though Johnny Cash made the ultimate version of “Bird…” on his first Rick Rubin cooperation “American Recordings”).
While Nick Drake was a beautiful loser, Hardin was just a loser. He hardly had the good looks of Drake, there is nothing romantic about him other than his music, and he doesn’t appear to have been very sympathetic (probably owing to his heroin abuse). Beating your wife and neglecting your children just isn’t charming. He travelled to England to receive a miracle cure for his smack addiction by trying to make a soft landing on barbiturates. And turned out an addict for that particular substance as well. While he was at it, he started a tour in England, but fell asleep on stage at the Royal Albert Hall, shortly after firing his backing group in front of the audience. But damn was he good during a brief stint around 66-68.
He died of a heroin overdose in 1980, 39 years old. Do yourself a favor and check him out. You don’t even have to do some extensive searching. I’ll give you a link. For free. My own playlist on Spotify: Tim Hardin. “If you got a carpet on your floor/you never get to Baltimore…”
So what’s with the wine…? Me and my wife had a 2007 Château d’Armailhac. Ok nose: black currants, cedar tree, tobacco, meat, mouldered leaves. Medium bodied with slightly too light tannins. Bordeaux 2007 is allegedly not a great vintage. I’m having a hard time seeing that this one will improve given its non-ruggedness. Very light for being a Pauillac. Drink now. A decent wine but not for 325 SEK. 87p.
So how did the wine pair with Timmy…? Great. But so would a sixpack and a pizza.