June 25, 2020 10 min read

Tiny Tim's Songs of an Impotent Troubadour is now available on all major music streaming and download platforms. The digital release marks the first time the album has been available since its original, limited CD release on David Tibet's Dutro label. Produced by Big Bucks Burnett and recorded on July 6, 1994, Songs of an Impotent Troubadour was released one day before Tiny Tim's 63rd birthday on April 11, 1995. This free-form album is the only Tiny Tim album comprised entirely of the unconventional crooner's original compositions. Tiny presents his songs chronologically, along with romantic, monological musings and explanations for each. This expanded, digital version features a previously unreleased medley of love songs recorded during the same album session. 

As the original CD is somewhat rare, people often ask, where can I listen to Songs of an Impotent Troubadour online? Now you can! 

Listen to Songs of an Impotent Troubadour on Apple Music!

If you just can't get enough of Tiny Tim, check out the Tiny Tim Collection in our store featuring Spirits of the Past, Tiny Tim's America, The Boxlers: A Dramatic Reading and more! 

The last three years of Tiny's life, he saw a resurgence in popularity and a comeback of sorts, aided by several high-profile appearances on The Howard Stern Show. In the span of a few years, Tiny Tim fans were treated to more full-length albums than had been released during Tiny's stint at Warner Bros. from 1968 to 1971; Tiny Tim Rock (1993), I Love Me (1993), Tiny Tim's Christmas Album (1994), Songs of an Impotent Troubadour (1995), Live in Chicago with the New Duncan Imperials (1995), Prisoner of Love: A Tribute to Russ Columbo, Tiny Tim Unplugged (1996), and Girl (1996).

Among the 90s releases, Songs of an Impotent Troubadour is considered something of a rarity even among Tiny Tim collectors as it was released on an indie UK label at a time before the internet simplified international distribution. Original CD copies today fetch a price of $50. The album is of historical significance as it showcases Tiny Tim's songwriting beyond his best known - and infamous - compositions "She Left Me With The Herpes" and "Santa Claus Has Got The Aids This Year," although those, too, are included for posterity. 

Tiny Tim's Original Liner Notes:

An Impotent Troubadour
A Valentine's Message From Tiny Tim

Why do I call myself by that name? Because it is true. However, I still yearn and love to sing love songs to young, beautiful girls.

My private parts may not function too well, but my heart for love and romance is on fire.

May this message give encouragement to those who are impotent -

To keep singing
Even if your bell stops ringing

Postscript: Since I wrote the above I have found, as the song says, "There may be life in the old boy yet". Certain fluctuations have occurred since I have been with Miss Sue. However, at this writing, things remain fairly the same. I am not encouraging, heaven forbid, sin; but in some sexual moments there has been life. I would still say, on the whole, everything remains the same.

I want to thank Mr. Burnett; Mr. Tibet; Mr. Mike Dubonis, my friend for just being there; Miss Sue M. Gardner for the blind faith she has in loving the Impotent Troubadour and by doing so her faith in Jesus Christ exceeds the angels; Miss Barley Vogel for taking the greatest photograph of Miss Stephanie I have ever seen; and Miss Stephanie, the Eternal Princess, for allowing this picture of her and me to be used in this album. It is my pleasure and thrill to have Miss Stephanie's image on the Impotent Troubadour album.

Tiny Tim, Valentine's Day, 1995

Big Bucks Burnett's Original Liner Notes:

The Bemused Producer Writes...

I FIRST learned that Tiny Tim was a songwriter in September 1982. We met on the 12th at a Dallas performance, and during an interview he played a song that he had written for his then current flame, Miss Dixie. In 1984, he played a song for me about Santa Claus having the "Aids". Around 1990, he played a song he had written about my friend Stephanie Bohn. When he played me another song about Tonya Harding in 1994, I asked him if he would ever consider recording all his of his original compositions for an album to showcase his song writing talent. he said he would undertake the task if I wanted to arrange the session. And so, on July 6, 1994, Tiny told his story. For three hours he spoke of his quest for romance, bursting into song and anecdote, as if he could neither control nor stop the unfolding drama.

Amazingly, Tiny recalls each girl that he has met and loved in astounding detail. The humour and the warmth of these stories capture forever the unique experience that is Tiny Tim. The mood of the songwriting varies from serious to hilarious, and presents Tiny in a new light; fans may now enjoy him as a composer, as well as a performer.

I must confess to being very proud of this session. Although it is just a documentary with a rather imperfect approach, it collects for the first time the original songs of Tiny Tim. For the life of me, I can't figure out why nobody asked him to do this before I did. I'm glad I was the first person to think of it because, in some ways, this is the most important Tiny Tim album of all... he finally tells his tale.
I would like to thank: Tiny for agreeing to this project and for trusting me with it; Mike and Patti Haskins for leading me to Phil York for his engineering expertise and understanding; Gregor Brune for perseverance; David Tibet for invaluable aid; Kat for typesetting all; Barley Vogel for infinite patience with my obsession; Stephanie Bohn for her grace beyond grace.

Big Bucks Burnett, Valentine's Day, 1995

David Tibet's Original Liner Notes: 

On My Knees Before The Eternal Troubadour

From the first moment I heard Tiny Tim, I wanted to give him a Trophy. He arrived straight up into the ranks of my two classic heroes, Louis Wain and Arthur Machen. This is a world where purity dare not show its face; where honesty is crushed by heartless wretches and hypocrites; where the sweet songs and sentiments of yesteryear are cynically scorned. But Thank God for Tiny Tim. A man who is aware of the deepest abysses of human nature - and of the goldentipped heights of heaven on earth to which only romance can bring us. It is my great pleasure and honour to be involved with this album; Tiny Tim sings from the heart - his heart - and from his experience. He's tramped the tearstained streets of showbusiness, looking for that fabled golden paving stone. And he has found it. But not in that Great Beast, that Scarlet Woman, that painted hussy that drips insincerity in her lie-by-numbers "entertainment" industry of today. Let me tell you his secret: he has found it in the fairytale world of beautiful women, where romance is never ending - if only you know how to read her book aright... This album reveals the inner Tiny Tim; listen and you will hear the truth that calls out from the soul of An Impotent - and Eternal! - Troubadour.

May God bless Tiny Tim - and never, never stop blessing him!

And thank you for your support Miss Kat, Mr. Stapleton, Mr. Burnett, Mr. Sharp, Mr. Balance, Mr. P., Mr. Rice, Miss Allegra, Miss Alison, Mr., Gibson, Mr. Trench, Mr. Blackburn, Miss Babs and, of course, Mr. Tiny Tim himself.

Tiny asked me to point out that the "Aids" referred to in his classic composition "Santa Claus Has Got The Aids This Year" refers to the well-known weight-reducing candy bar, not the terrible disease, which came into the headlines some years after he wrote his song. I also wish to mention that this album does not contain all of Tiny's self-penned compositions, such as his wonderful tribute to Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, "Why Did They have To Go?", and a couple of other songs which were felt to be too personal to be included here.

For this recording of "Just What Do You Mean By 'Antichrist'?", Current 93 and Nurse With Wound eternally lie and cry: David Tibet, Steven Stapleton, David Kenny, Cho Youngsou, with vocals by Tiny Tim.

David Michael Tibet, Tinyland, London, Valentine's Day, 1995

Mr. Burnett and Mr. Tibet would like to raise a special banner of praise to Mr. Martin Sharp, who kept the flame of Tiny Tim's greatness alight when almost everyone else had forgotten him. God bless him too! We are pleased to announce that this album is released on February 23rd, Miss Stephanie's special day. May God bless her as well!!

More on Songs of an Impotent Troubadour

Edited excerpt from the biography Eternal Troubadour: The Improbably Life of Tiny Tim by Justin Martell and Alanna Wray McDonald - available HERE!

While in Dallas, Texas in July, 1994, Tiny attended the official dedication of the Tiny Tim Museum, which took up a large section of his sometimes-manager and fan club president Big Bucks Burnett’s record store. ‘Tiny was sort of unimpressed with the idea,’ Burnett later recalled. ‘I think he was a little offended that it was not an actual museum, [but when] he saw the actual display with photos, records, posters, he was really impressed. It made me feel really good.’ The next night, in honor of the tenth anniversary of the ill-fated 1984 EdStock Festival, Tiny, backed by The Hasbeens, performed a ‘Tiny-Palooza’ concert at Dallas' Club Dada. The Tiny Tim Times advertised the show as the ‘Tiny Tim gig of the decade (perhaps century).’

Burnett also instigated a three-hour solo recording session with Tiny. Despite a momentary clash during which Tiny threatened to place a ‘hex’ on Burnett and his family, he managed to record Tiny giving a lengthy monologue about his love life and singing every song—all thirty-four—he had ever written for or associated with a girl/woman. The resulting recording became Songs of an Impotent Troubadour.

‘Troubadour was actually done live, all in one take,’ Burnett says. Tiny played ‘every song he had ever associated with a girl’ in chronological order, ‘and he would tell the story of when and how he met the girl and why he associates that song with her, and probably about half of the songs were songs he had written. So we just extracted the dialogue and songs pertaining to the original numbers, because the concept for that album was to record an album of just Tiny Tim originals. No one really knew he was a songwriter, and no one would ever give him a chance to make an album of his own songs. I just thought it would be tragic if that never happened, so I’m really glad I got to do that.’

‘I don’t know if I am a songwriter,’ Tiny later told Burnett while discussing the album. ‘These were songs that I dabbled in … Irving Berlin won’t roll around in his grave, but, the thing is, these are songs that I try to write in my heart and soul to these woman that I loved and to these, you know, who played a great part in a … pure way.’

By then, Burnett had grown friendly with David Tibet and proposed that he release the album on his label Dutro. In order to make the release more marketable to his fans, Tibet isolated a segment from a telephone conversation he had had with Tiny and overdubbed music by his band, Current 93. This, says Burnett, made it ‘ten times less risky’ for Tibet. The resulting track was called ‘Just What Do You Mean By Antichrist?’ and features Tiny pontificating that the Antichrist would be an extraterrestrial, and that his emergence would come in the form of an alien invasion of Earth by his forces.

It will come as no surprise to learn that Tiny believed that contact with another world was imminent. ‘The Columbuses of the space years, to the moon, Saturn, Venus, are coming nearer and nearer,’ he told Jeff Wilkins of the Schenectady Daily Gazette in November 1994. ‘I believe … contact will be made. All these sightings of flying saucers can’t all be wrong.’

As for the album’s title, Tiny had recently announced his impotency on The Howard Stern Show, and suggested it as a fitting name for the record. Burnett later told Tiny he was ‘quite fascinated’ by the title. ‘At first I was sort of shocked and repelled, but the more I thought about it, it had a kind of a appealing, profane quality—almost poetic.’ He summed it up as ‘a shocking name for a Tiny Tim album’ but also one that ‘implies a triumph of spirituality over any physical limitations.’

‘This is really an encouraging slogan for those who are impotent,’ Tiny confirmed. ‘I use the Impotent Troubadour as an encouragement to those who still have love in their hearts but [are] not to complete it, down there, for children.’ Songs Of An Impotent Troubadour sold 1,500 copies upon its release—an impressive number considering its niche status even by Tiny Tim standards.

As for the hex, Big Bucks Burnett says that Tiny ‘issued it as an eternal, binding curse, on me and my family. I forget what brought it on, but it was recorded. After the session I confronted him about it. I told him I didn’t mind being cursed, but that he had no right to involve my family. He then told me that that part was a test—to see if I would defend my family—and that I had passed the test. I told him that that was bullshit, that he was back peddling. Tiny took back the curse on my family. as I understand it, I remain eternally cursed by the great Yahweh God of Israel.’

Burnett remains, as far as we know, the only of Tiny's associates known to have such a holy hex bestowed upon them by the Impotent Troubadour. 

 Original Album Credits: 

Front cover: painting by Steven Stapleton; photograph courtesy of Donna Rose and Randy Reeves. Photograph on back of booklet by John Gasperick. Inner inlay photograph of Miss Stephanie and Tiny Tim by Barley Vogel. Photograph of Big Bucks Burnett by Stephanie Bohn. Back cover portrait by Danny Hurley for his kindness in letting us use his photograph of Tiny Tim.

Recorded July 6, 1994. Engineered by Phil York. Album concept by Big Bucks Burnett. Original album release © Durtro 1995.  All songs by Tiny Tim, except "Heaven Only Knows", which was co-written by Tiny Tim and Bob Gonzalez.

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