Timmothy

Timmothy

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When Neil Young was doing his acoustic tours in the early '70s, one imagines there were young men like Timmothy sitting gape-mouthed in the front rows, soaking up Young's every move in hopes of emulating his genius in their own music. Not many such fans got to cut their own records, but Timmothy did on this self-titled LP, of which just a few hundred copies were pressed. The opening song, "Blue and Gray," is such an obvious cop of Young's "Down by the River" that you can't even begin to guess what Timmothy was thinking; no one was going to be impressed by a tune that was such an obvious imitation of what was, even by 1972, a well-known classic. None of the other songs on Timmothy are as blatantly Youngian, but the influences of Neil and -- to a lesser degree -- some of the era's other moody folk-rock singer/songwriters hover as strongly over the record as a stick of pungent incense. Sometimes the approximation of Young's reflective, haunted, slightly downbeat acoustic sound is pretty close ("You're Stayin' Here Tonight," "Rich Get Richer," "Good Morning," "Maybe I'm High"), though Timmothy has a much more normal, less distinctive voice. On some tracks, however, Timmothy goes for a more generic and bluesier early-'70s hard rock sound ("A Woman"), or even a funky coffeehouse folk-blues vibe ("Evil Woman"), while "The Sky" has a slightly more fully produced, slightly psychedelic upbeat flavor. Overall, though, much of it falls squarely in the category of what some collectors have dubbed "downer folk" -- early-'70s singer/songwriter material in which the solipsistic brooding quality is almost overwhelming. Actually, Timmothy doesn't sound as disturbed or depressed as many such artists, and he's more melodic than some. Still, to most ears he'll come off as a poor man's Neil Young who's much more limited in his emotional and musical range, though intensely specialized collectors may enjoy the idiosyncratically homespun atmosphere.