Though he has joined his beloved Spirits Of The Past, Tiny Tim’s music and message is alive and well on his latest album, Spirits Of The Past: Lost And Found Vol. 4. Bucks Burnett - Tiny Tim's former Fan Club Manager and producer of his last album, Girl - explains why the album is essential listening for those seeking to experience Tiny Tim as he lived and performed.
Tiny Tim & Bucks Burnett
In a world that still scorns the life, career and personality of Tiny Tim we have thankfully lived to see the day of a greater appreciation of Mr. Tim. It’s now hip, even obligatory to a degree in certain circles, to have at least a minor knowledge and appreciation of Tiny and his strange seductive world. His YouTube numbers are way up and reissues nicely compliment first issues of buried treasure. From God Bless to Girl, there are a few albums that can now do what was impossible before; convert the haters into mild fans or even the occasional completist who wants everything they can find.
Spirits Of The Past; Lost And Found, Volume 4, won’t convert anybody nor should it. It is for people like me who simply want every existing recording of him singing and just as important, talking and telling stories. For my money, Volume 4 is worth the price of admission for the song introductions alone. Delivered with theatric sincerity the introductions both entertain and educate. More importantly, this live from his hotel room recording preserves one of the greatest experiences possible. It preserves and presents what it was like just to hang out with him and be entertained, even amazed, by his songs, his speaking, and charisma.
Do you like low fi records (Sonic Youth, Daniel Johnston)? Volume 4 delivers lo fi by the truckload. This bottom end recording offers tape hiss, distortion, and shrill ear challenging treble qualities that might challenge even his most devoted fan. I find it more listenable if I increase the bass and decrease the treble. Even then it is a sonic challenge.
Even so, outweighing the deficiencies is the history and fun of the performance. This is a piece of super obscure history that is now thankfully preserved and made available to the braver and more adventurous of his fan base.
On the front cover it is humorously and accurately labeled as For Tiny Tim Fans Only. If you are on the front end of your Tiny journey, there are better starting places. If you think you want it all, or want to see what you’re made of, how much you can take, how far you can go, Volume 4 is a good testing ground.
As I write these notes I’m playing it at moderate volume on a very good stereo. My high end speakers are rattling and buzzing with rampant distortion. Tiny is heard here simply defying technology, delivering a TKO to sound quality. But he is laying it down, indifferent to your indifference. Take it or leave it, this collection counts if you are a Tiny Tim fan. This is a cheap ticket to front row for the Tiny Tim experience. Eject it after three songs and go back to the Reprise recordings. Or take the ride to the finish line and get in line for your baptism. If you listen all the way through once, or twice, you qualify as a completist.
The beautiful package design mimics a rich and informative scrapbook presentation. Yet another priceless volume in The Encyclopedia Tim. It’s not for everybody nor was he. But now that I’ve heard it I can’t live without it; I’m that far gone.
February 19, 2020
Why let the adventure end now? You can see our full range of Tiny Tim titles here!
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