Tim from Radio Clash asked me if I had the Tiny Tim/Bruce Haack album "Zoot Zoot Zoot Here Comes Santa In His New Space Suit." Alas, I don't - do any of you out there have this true meeting of outsider musical minds? It's as rare as a complete dinosaur skeleton, and about as expensive. But the query did send me poking thru the Tiny Tim things that I do have, such as this extraordinary tape of some anonymous person recording what is apparently a concert for one in Tiny's apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Just a man and his ukulele - and you are there!
The first song sounds like the mic is a little too far away, and Tiny isn't quite warmed up on the early tracks, frequently consulting sheet music, but then he really gets rolling. Yes, he was a truly strange individual, his fluke late-'60s popularity resulting in as much ridicule as acclaim for the troubled troubadour. But this "Tim unplugged" tape serves as a much-needed corrective to the idea that Tiny was just some comical oddball. This is Professor Tim in action here, as much scholar as entertainer, a walking repository of obscure Tin Pan Alley, hillbilly, Broadway, British music hall, and novelty songs from as far back as the 1800s that had gone largely unheard until Tiny found their sheet music.
Comic songs like "I Used To Call Her Baby" and "When They're Old Enough To Know Better" are my faves, and I'd love to hear a complete version of "After The Ball," as it sounds like a lovely waltz. They're not all antiquities - his pals the Beatles (yep, he was that famous for a while) are saluted with a version of "Yesterday" that doesn't sound all that different from the rest of the selections. And that's about the only song here you're liable to recognize, except maybe for Dean Martin's "You're Nobody Til Somebody Loves You," and the jazz standard "Dancing In The Dark." To quote his first album title, God bless Tiny Tim.
Tiny Tim: Tiny's apartment, 1976 (28 tracks: complete songs, as well as fragments)