When he burst into public recognition in 1968, people either regarded Tiny Tim as a lovable wacko, or simply a wacko; though Tim's eccentricity seemed both charming and oddly appropriate in the wake of the Summer of Love, despite his long hair and beatific attitude, he was no hippie, but instead an amateur archivist of American popular song who made it his life's crusade to remind people about the joys of the Tin Pan Alley era. In his own odd way, Tiny Tim was one of the first artists of the rock era to celebrate the notion of the Great American songbook, though his fondness for a warbling falsetto delivery, his thrift-store wardrobe, his slightly fey personality, and his championing of the ukulele as his favored means of accompaniment was every bit as anomalous in 1968 as it would be today. While Tiny Tim was (principally) marketed as a novelty act and treated as a joke by many who presented him to the public (one of his most frequent television platforms was on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In), Tim wasn't kidding -- he loved and lived for this music, and he performed it in a historically accurate manner, remaining true to his musical vision right up to the very end (he died in 1996 moments after performing his umpteenth rendition of "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips" for a women's club in Minneapolis.) While Tiny Tim stubbornly continued to record up until his death, far and away his most successful album was his 1968 debut on Reprise Records, God Bless Tiny Tim, in which producer Richard Perry created a thoroughly charming if occasionally outré musical spectacular around the crooner, and he would record two other albums under Perry's tutelage before Reprise pulled the plug on Tim's major label recording career. Ten years after Tiny Tim's death, his work for Reprise has finally made its way to CD in a limited-edition box set from Rhino Handmade, God Bless Tiny Tim: The Complete Reprise Recordings. This three-disc set collects Tim's three Reprise LP's -- God Bless Tiny Tim, the equally charming follow-up Tiny Tim's Second Album, and the uneven children's disc For All My Little Friends -- along with a handful of non-LP singles and a few unreleased tracks. Most interesting for Tiny Tim enthusiasts will be the material on disc three, which features 39 demos in which Tim joyously reels off one song after another, as if he could go on for days on end if there were time and tape enough. The remastering of the audio is splendid, and Barret Hansen (aka Dr. Demento) provides a superb biographical essay for the accompanying booklet. With the possible exception of Ian Whitcomb, there's never been a "one-hit wonder" who has done as much to document the history of American popular music as Tiny Tim, and God Bless Tiny Tim: The Complete Reprise Recordings finally gives him the belated tribute he deserved; anyone with any interest in this strange but gifted artist at the peak of his fame (and his abilities) needs to hop on the internet and get this set while it lasts.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming
Track Listing - Disc 1
|23||Tiny Tim feat: Harry Roy & His Band||04:27||Amazon|
|24||Tiny Tim feat: Harry Roy & His Band||04:36||Amazon|
Track Listing - Disc 2