Tiny Tim & Bob Dylan

That is a truly odd couple. I would have loved to hear what they sounded like together!
I do love Dylan’s hat! I remember having one just like it when I was about eight years old!
 
That's quite the pairing...
Im' sure it worked though.

I'm reliving first hearing Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias for the 1st time.
 
Tim had a pretty great low voice too




As polarizing as he is, I am personally a huge fan of his weirdo performances like this one.

Also if you haven't heard "The Old Front Porch" off God Bless Tiny Tim, its him Dueting with himself, and its great.
 
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Tim had a pretty great low voice too




As polarizing as he is, I am personally a huge fan of his weirdo performances like this one.

Also if you haven't heard "The Old Front Porch" off God Bless Tiny Tim, its him Dueting with himself, and its great.

Holy Smokes!
I always thought he just had a falsetto!!!
 
In early '67 BD asked TT to be in an impromptu film he wanted to make and Tim stayed with him and his family. He returned a little later for more filming as Dylan had been so happy; played for family and was respected by them. Photo probably from then, with Dylan's guitar hence the RH tuning? TT thought Dylan was a god - incredibly respectful.
 
Their relationship goes back to the very beginning of Bob arriving in New York, which Bob talks about at some length in his book Chronicles, and if you think about it for a second, it makes all the sense in the world: they were two kind of strange-looking dudes (NOBODY had long hair when Tiny first grew it out in the early 50s), they both had, uhm, divisive voices (as Bob wrote of himself in the passage I quote below, "I'd either drive people away or they'd come in closer to see what it was all about"), and they were both obsessed with obscure old songs in ways that set them apart from the orthodoxy of the barely post-beatnik orthodoxy.

An extended excerpt. Bob really is a whale of writer, and this is a whale of a tale.

When I arrived, it was dead-on winter. The cold was brutal and every artery of the city was snowpacked, but I'd started out from the frostbitten North Country, a little corner of the earth where the dark frozen woods and icy roads didn't faze me. I could transcend the limitations. It wasn't money or love that I was looking for. I had a heightened sense of awareness, was set in my ways, impractical and a visionary to boot. My mind was strong like a trap and I didn't need any guarantee of validity. I didn't know a single soul in this dark freezing metropolis but that was all about to change — and quick.​
The Café Wha? was a club on MacDougal Street in the heart of Greenwich Village. The place was a subterranean cavern, liquorless, ill lit, low ceiling, like a wide dining hall with chairs and tables — opened at noon, closed at four in the morning. Somebody had told me to go there and ask for a singer named Freddy Neil who ran the daytime show at the Wha?​
I found the place and was told that Freddy was downstairs in the basement where the coats and hats were checked and that's where I met him. Neil was the MC of the room and the maestro in charge of all the entertainers. He couldn't have been nicer. He asked me what I did and I told him I sang, played guitar and harmonica. He asked me to play something. After about a minute, he said I could play harmonica with him during his sets. I was ecstatic. At least it was a place to stay out of the cold. This was good.​
The daytime show at the Café Wha?, an extravaganza of patchwork, featured anybody and anything — a comedian, a ventriloquist, a steel drum group, a poet, a female impersonator, a duo who sang Broadway stuff, a rabbit-in-the-hat magician, a guy wearing a turban who hypnotized people in the audience, somebody whose entire act was facial acrobatics — just anybody who wanted to break into show business. Nothing that would change your view of the world. I wouldn't have wanted Fred's gig for anything.​
At about eight o'clock, the whole daytime menagerie would come to a halt and then the professional show would begin. Comedians like Richard Pryor, Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, Lenny Bruce and commercial folksinging groups like The Journeymen would command the stage. Everyone who had been there during the day would pack up. One of the guys who played in the afternoons was the falsetto-speaking Tiny Tim. He played ukulele and sang like a girl — old standard songs from the '20s. I got to talking to him a few times and asked him what other kinds of places there were to work around here and he told me that sometimes he played at a place in Times Square called Hubert's Flea Circus Museum. I'd find out about that place later.....​
The best part of working with [Freddy Neil], though, was strictly gastronomical — all the French fries and hamburgers I could eat. At some point during the day, Tiny Tim and I would go in the kitchen and hang around. Norbert the cook would usually have a greasy burger waiting.​
If you think about it in terms of the two most annoying outsiders, both all-but-homeless and relying on the Cafe Wha? kitchen for the entirety of their sustenance, and who shared a love for the most obscure corners of Americana, including the hardly obscure but EXTREMELY out of style Tin Pan Alley (along with Bob and Tim's particular fondness for the Alley's darkest corners), as well as a fondness for music that significantly predated that, it's hard to imagine two performers any MORE suited to each other!

They both had separate paths to follow of course, and Tiny Tim was the first to find fame, not only in pop culture, but among mainstream musicians. Back when I had spare time, I used to do some writing about this sort of thing, and one of my favorite photos was of Tim on tour in England, signing autographs at a children's hospital with Graham Nash (still in The Hollies of course) and Pete Townshend!

1713025254998.png

Tiny of course performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 1968 (resulting in a fantastic recording not released until 2000), and stopped by Abbey Road to hang with his pals The Beatles. He even wound up on the Christmas recording that year with a truly bonkers version of Nowhere Man.



Anyway, Tim's friendship with Bob brought him into contact with The Band. The whole point of the Basement Tapes was to hang out and "'kanikapila" a bunch of obscure Americana, what Greil Marcus would later call "the old, weird music," as well as workshop some originals that sounded as old and weird as possible.

Just as this kind of thing had bonded Bob and Tiny, it was the foundation of the relationship between Bob and the Band, and I have no doubt whatsoever that as they set off on this particular journey, the first guy they thought of to join them was tiny Tim. At that point in 1967, those might have been the seven men on the planet most obsessed with this kind of music! It would be insane for them not to have wound up together.

I don't know the particular story behind this picture of Richard Manuel, Bob at the piano and Tiny peering in through the window, but it still makes me laugh.

1000002606.jpg


They didn't initially intend to make an album out of this exercise. I'm not sure Bob even knew that the early sessions were being recorded. It was mostly because of Garth Hudson's new hobby of home recording...so early in Garth's hobby journey that he was using a recorder borrowed from manager Albert Grossman and mics from Peter Yarrow.

The thing is, if all you know of the Basement Tapes is Robbie Robertson's 1975 two-LP edit, you've only heard about 5% of the weirdness. There were over 100 tracks recorded that summer, and aside from Robbie choosing a tiny handful of the most mainstream of those tracks, he and The Band re-recorded a number of them (without Bob) to reduce the weirdness.

I had fallen into these tracks thanks to the first widely circulated bootleg of the rock era (arguably the first ever), 1969's Great White Wonder (read about it here if you don't know about it), and honestly, "old, weird music" doesn't begin to do it justice. It includes a number of early (1961-1962) radio recordings, audio of his 1969 appearance on The Johnny Cash Show (which was the first time most of the general public had ever seen Bob -- he was still obscure enough that Columbia was trying to explain who he was for his first greatest hits...which were mostly hits for other people.... as well Blonde on Blonde and other mid-to-late 60s albums and singles, and even his 1971 second "hits" collection, with the slogan, "Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan"), and a handful of other curios....

1713038690408.png

....but the 1967 recordings with The Band were the stars of the show. Some of those tracks went on to become standards (notably, "I Shall Be Released"), but the big takeaway was that what I THOUGHT was included in the phrase "Bob Dylan music" was the barest fraction of what was actually there. My gosh, it felt like darn near the entire universe of music! This sent me down a nearly 60-year rabbit hole from which I've yet to emerge, and can't imagine I ever will. The older, the weirder, more obscure Dylan, the better.

I'm far from alone in this, of course, which is why "Dylan's people" (mostly Jeff Rosen; I'm not sure how engaged in this Bob has ever been) set up The Bootleg Series at the dawn of the CD era, with a couple of the era's greatest collections, Biograph, and Bootleg Series I-III. Those were both pretty wide but shallow collections, but by the time we get to volume 11 of The Bootleg Series in 2014, we've got 138 tracks of which 117 were not previously issued. Find your way to Spotify, Amazon, YouTube or wherever you stream music and dig in. (Here's the link at my preferred joint, Amazon Music.) Better yet, buy a physical copy, which includes a terrific book with lots of pictures, recording details and stories to go with the 6 CDs with over 6 and a half hours worth of music.

Something crazy's gonna happen before you get to the end of the first disk. You're going to start by listening to Bob Dylan, mostly in his Nashville Skyline-to-New Morning voice, and you're going to very naturally start imaging Tiny Tim singing these very songs, many of which he already had, and many more of which he would continue to do until his passing.

TT thought Dylan was a god - incredibly respectful.

I've teased this before, but someday I swear I'm gonna tell ya the story of how I got to know Tiny Tim, and he, his wife, my wife and I, and the couple who were our mutual friends had a standing date for brunch on Mother's Day (even though none of us were mothers :ROFLMAO:), but I did in fact get to know him.

So I'll respectful yes, but gently disagree with the god part. Tiny's religious faith was very much like his devotion to old music -- so deeply held and so sincere that it looks like a joke to the casual observer, but it absolutely wasn't. Tiny and Bob were friends, but Tiny's interest was in music that was much older and frankly more sentimental than Bob. He did indeed revere (and I'm VERY comfortable with that word) songwriters, and Bob among them....but his mission was to reveal the mysteries and majesties of the Great American Songbook way, way beyond Gershwin and Porter.

I think if you'd pressed Tiny, he might not have ranked Bob all that high on the list of greatest American songwriters, and might even argue that we still don't have enough data to prove that Dylan has yet to write anything with the staying power and cultural impact of Bicycle Built for Two, which I say as obviously an obsessive fan of Dylan. The old stuff has its own power.

I'm delighted that folks on this thread are discovering our Herbert Khaury's lovely natural baritone. Here's one of his early recordings using his "real" voice, Pennies From Heaven. Ignore the thumbnail here. This is definitely Pennies, and I absolutely adore this version.




I knew him in the mid-90s just before he passed away on stage in 1996, when his latest album was 1995's Prisoner of Love: A Tribute to Russ Columbo. It's worth noting in this context that while he covered a LOT of Dylan tracks, both live and in the studio, his only full-album tribute was to this rather obscure actor, singer, and occassional composer who passed away in 1934. He was mostly known for super-sappy (in a good way, sez me, in a horrible way said my mother LOL) ballads like "You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love", and a couple of songs that he also wrote, "Prisoner of Love" and "Too Beautiful for Words."

Here's Tiny's version of Prisoner of Love:



I'm actually going somewhere with this, and I'm grateful to anyone still with me. :ROFLMAO:

Bob's "autobiography" Chronicles is a great read, but it's kinda propaganda. It's got a number of what I think are intentional falsehoods along with some plain misremembering, and more than anything, it's the origin story of the Riverboat Gambler persona that he's adopted for much of the 21st century, and his obsession with songs going back to the late 19th century. That suits me fine, because me, my favorite decade-ish of Dylan as both a writer and performer is roughly the first decade of this century, from Time Out of Mind in 1997 to Together Through Life in 2009.

But with as many changes as even his most ardent fans had clocked, nobody saw coming his detour into Tiny Tim territory with the release of Shadows In The Night, and continued on Fallen Angels (2016) and Triplicate (2017; as the name indicates, a 3-CD set of such songs).

Many folks called it a bunch of covers that Sinatra had also covered, and while that includes a germ of truth, Bob himself called them UNcovers. "I don't see myself as covering these songs in any way. They've been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day."

Remarkably enough, Tiny Tim had used very nearly those exact words to describe his own mission! He knew that he was a clown, if not a freak, and his setlist in the 90s included everything from AC/DC's Highway to Hell and Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven, to Elvis, Johnny Cash, Dylan, a bunch of hymns, Yankee Doodle Dandy, opening with the aforementioned Bicycle Built For Two, and closing with a duet with himself on I Got You Babe. His goal, he told me, was for someone to hear something they liked enough to see what this crazy guy was doing with the song, and hope that they came away with some appreciation for the songs they'd never heard before, like Pennies From Heaven and Prisoner of Love!

(Part of the rest of the story is that after brunch, we interviewed Tiny every year for the TV show we produced on behalf of the couple who were our mutual friends, and he and I spoke at LENGTH about this stuff over the years.)

Back to Bob's "uncover" project. Some of them are super popular, say, Autumn Leaves or Stardust, but plenty of obscurities, too. My informal recollection thinks that the most commonly-covered writers over those five discs are Jimmy van Heusen and Harold Arlen, rather than the giants like Mercer and Berlin, who are there too.)

Here's one sample, and now that you've heard Tiny Tim's "real" baritone, tell me that you can't imagine what he'd do with this!



I used to see Bob every chance I could get, which was plenty because he spends so much time on the road....but he hasn't come to Hawaii since I moved here, so the last time I saw him was in 2016, and the closed the show with this number, which I think manages to wrap Bob up in a nutshell: "Why Try To Change Me Now?" :ROFLMAO:

In fact, he'd been awarded his Nobel Prize that week, and he was in a great mood. This was in the Coachella Valley, and I snapped a couple of pics of him --it is as it appears, Bob wearing one of his Riverboat Gambler suits with NO SHIRT.

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Anyway, that's why nothing that involves Tiny Tim and Bob Dylan together surprises me. They became friends before either was famous, stayed friends based on both shared experience and the exact same set of core passions for old songs, with Bob living long enough to literally take on Tiny Tim's mission: bring you in for the songs you know, to share with you some songs you didn't.

As glad as I am that folks are discovering more about Tiny Tim on this thread, I hope that I can encourage some folks to listen more to 21st century Bob. I could write a whole book about any number of individual tracks of his from this century (notably, Mississippi from 2001's Love and Trust, but also Dreaming of You from Tell-Tale Signs and his Grammy-winning Cold Irons Bound). Even if the only era you care for is Bob in the 60s, I hope you explore his Bootleg Series, as the official albums represent maybe a tenth of his overall output, and by no means exclusively the best...but this is a fun little detour into the few years where for all practical purposes Bob WAS Tiny Tim. :)
 

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There’s a wonderful recording of TT on vocals performing the tearjerker “Sonny Boy” with Bob Dylan and The Band. Can’t find a link without obnoxious ads in front of it.
If you use the Media icon above and paste the YouTube web address (URL), the ads will not show here.

 
Their relationship goes back to the very beginning of Bob arriving in New York, which Bob talks about at some length in Chronicles, and if you think about it for a second, it makes all the sense in the world: they were two kind of strange-looking dudes (NOBODY had long hair in the late 50s and early 60s when Tiny first appeared on the scene), they both had, uhm, divisive voices (as Bob wrote of himself in the passage I quote below, ("I'd either drive people away or they'd come in closer to see what it was all about"), and they were both obsessed with obscure old songs in ways that set them apart from the orthodoxy of the barely post-beatnik orthodoxy.

An extended excerpt. Bob really is a whale of writer, and this is a whale of a tale.

When I arrived, it was dead-on winter. The cold was brutal and every artery of the city was snowpacked, but I'd started out from the frostbitten North Country, a little corner of the earth where the dark frozen woods and icy roads didn't faze me. I could transcend the limitations. It wasn't money or love that I was looking for. I had a heightened sense of awareness, was set in my ways, impractical and a visionary to boot. My mind was strong like a trap and I didn't need any guarantee of validity. I didn't know a single soul in this dark freezing metropolis but that was all about to change — and quick.​
The Café Wha? was a club on MacDougal Street in the heart of Greenwich Village. The place was a subterranean cavern, liquorless, ill lit, low ceiling, like a wide dining hall with chairs and tables — opened at noon, closed at four in the morning. Somebody had told me to go there and ask for a singer named Freddy Neil who ran the daytime show at the Wha?​
I found the place and was told that Freddy was downstairs in the basement where the coats and hats were checked and that's where I met him. Neil was the MC of the room and the maestro in charge of all the entertainers. He couldn't have been nicer. He asked me what I did and I told him I sang, played guitar and harmonica. He asked me to play something. After about a minute, he said I could play harmonica with him during his sets. I was ecstatic. At least it was a place to stay out of the cold. This was good.​
The daytime show at the Café Wha?, an extravaganza of patchwork, featured anybody and anything — a comedian, a ventriloquist, a steel drum group, a poet, a female impersonator, a duo who sang Broadway stuff, a rabbit-in-the-hat magician, a guy wearing a turban who hypnotized people in the audience, somebody whose entire act was facial acrobatics — just anybody who wanted to break into show business. Nothing that would change your view of the world. I wouldn't have wanted Fred's gig for anything.​
At about eight o'clock, the whole daytime menagerie would come to a halt and then the professional show would begin. Comedians like Richard Pryor, Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, Lenny Bruce and commercial folksinging groups like The Journeymen would command the stage. Everyone who had been there during the day would pack up. One of the guys who played in the afternoons was the falsetto-speaking Tiny Tim. He played ukulele and sang like a girl — old standard songs from the '20s. I got to talking to him a few times and asked him what other kinds of places there were to work around here and he told me that sometimes he played at a place in Times Square called Hubert's Flea Circus Museum. I'd find out about that place later.....​
The best part of working with [Freddy Neil], though, was strictly gastronomical — all the French fries and hamburgers I could eat. At some point during the day, Tiny Tim and I would go in the kitchen and hang around. Norbert the cook would usually have a greasy burger waiting.​
If you think about it in terms of the two most annoying outsiders, both all-but-homeless and relying on the Cafe Wha? kitchen for the entirety of their sustenance, and who shared a love for the most obscure corners of Americana, including the hardly obscure but EXTREMELY out of style Tin Pan Alley (along with Bob and Tim's particular fondness for the Alley's darkest corners), as well as a fondness for music that significantly predated that, it's hard to imagine two performers any MORE suited to each other!

They both had separate paths to follow of course, and Tiny Tim was the first to find fame, not only in pop culture, but among mainstream musicians. Back when I had spare time, I used to do some writing about this sort of thing, and one of my favorite photos was of Tim on tour in England, signing autographs at a children's hospital with Graham Nash (still in The Hollies of course) and Pete Townshend!

View attachment 170779

Tiny of course performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 1968 (resulting in a fantastic recording not released until 2000), and stopped by Abbey Road to hang with his pals The Beatles. He even wound up on the Christmas recording that year with a truly bonkers version of Nowhere Man.



Anyway, Tim's friendship with Bob brought him into contact with The Band. The whole point of the Basement Tapes was to hang out and "'kanikapila" a bunch of obscure Americana, what Greil Marcus would later call "the old, weird music," as well as workshop some originals that sounded as old and weird as possible.

Just as I find this for this kind of thing had bonded Bob and Tiny, it was the foundation of the relationship between Bob and the Band, and I have no doubt whatsoever that as they set off on this particular journey, the first guy they thought of was tiny Tim. At that point in 1967, those might have been the seven men on the planet most obsessed with this kind of music! It would be insane for them not to have wound up together.

I don't know the particular story behind this picture of Richard Manuel, Bob at the piano and Tiny peering in through the window, but it still makes me laugh.

View attachment 170782

Another photo from Big Pink, with Tiny playing 12-string guitar!
View attachment 170803

They didn't initially intend to make an album out of this exercise. I'm not sure Bob even knew that the early sessions were being recorded. It was mostly because of Garth Hudson's new hobby of home recording...so early in Garth's hobby journey that he was using a recorder borrowed from manager Albert Grossman and mics from Peter Yarrow.

The thing is, if all you know of the Basement Tapes is Robbie Robertson's 1975 two-LP edit, you've only heard about 5% of the weirdness. There were over 100 tracks recorded that summer, and aside from Robbie choosing a tiny handful of the most mainstream of those tracks, he and The Band re-recorded a number of them (without Bob) to reduce the weirdness.

I had fallen into these tracks thanks to the first widely circulated bootleg of the rock era (arguably the first ever), 1969's Great White Wonder (read about it here if you don't know about it), and honestly, "old, weird music" doesn't begin to do it justice. It includes a number of early (1961-1962) radio recordings, audio of his 1969 appearance on The Johnny Cash Show (which was the first time most of the general public had ever seen Bob -- he was still obscure enough that Columbia was trying to explain who he was for his first greatest hits...which were mostly hits for other people.... as well Blonde on Blonde and other mid-to-late 60s albums and singles, and even his 1971 second "hits" collection, with the slogan, "Nobody Sings Dylan Like Dylan"), and a handful of other curios....

View attachment 170797

....but the 1967 recordings with The Band were the stars of the show. Some of those tracks went on to become standards (notably, "I Shall Be Released"), but the big takeaway was that what I THOUGHT was included in the phrase "Bob Dylan music" was the barest fraction of what was actually there. My gosh, it felt like darn near the entire universe of music! This sent me down a nearly 60-year rabbit hole from which I've yet to emerge, and can't imagine I ever will. The older, the weirder, more obscure Dylan, the better.

I'm far from alone in this, of course, which is why "Dylan's people" (mostly Jeff Rosen; I'm not sure how engaged in this Bob has ever been) set up The Bootleg Series at the dawn of the CD era, with a couple of the era's greatest collections, Biograph, and Bootleg Series I-III. Those were both pretty wide but shallow collections, but by the time we get to volume 11 of The Bootleg Series in 2014, we've got 138 tracks of which 117 were not previously issued. Find your way to Spotify, Amazon, YouTube or wherever you stream music and dig in. (Here's the link at my preferred joint, Amazon Music.) Better yet, buy a physical copy, which includes a terrific book with lots of pictures, recording details and stories to go with the 6 CDs with over 6 and a half hours worth of music.

Something crazy's gonna happen before you get to the end of the first disk. You're going to start by listening to Bob Dylan, mostly in his Nashville Skyline-to-New Morning voice, and you're going to very naturally start imaging Tiny Tim singing these very songs, many of which he already had, and many more of which he would continue to do until his passing.



I've teased this before, but someday I swear I'm gonna tell ya the story of how I got to know Tiny Tim, and he, his wife, my wife and I, and the couple who were our mutual friends had a standing date for brunch on Mother's Day (even though none of us were mothers :ROFLMAO:), but I did in fact get to know him.

So I'll respectful yes, but gently disagree with the god part. Tiny's religious faith was very much like his devotion to old music -- so deeply held and so sincere that it looks like a joke to the casual observer, but it absolutely wasn't. Tiny and Bob were friends, but Tiny's interest was in music that was much older and frankly more sentimental than Bob. He did indeed revere (and I'm VERY comfortable with that word) songwriters, and Bob among them....but his mission was to reveal the mysteries and majesties of the Great American Songbook way, way beyond Gershwin and Porter.

I think if you'd pressed Tiny, he might not have ranked Bob all that high on the list of greatest American songwriters, and might even argue that we still don't have enough data to prove that Dylan has yet to write anything with the staying power and cultural impact of Bicycle Built for Two, which I say as obviously an obsessive fan of Dylan. The old stuff has its own power.

I'm delighted that folks on this thread are discovering our Herbert Khaury's lovely natural baritone. Here's one of his early recordings using his "real" voice, Pennies From Heaven. Ignore the thumbnail here. This is definitely Pennies, and I absolutely adore this version.




I knew him in the mid-90s just before he passed away on stage in 1996, when his latest album was 1995's Prisoner of Love: A Tribute to Russ Columbo. It's worth noting in this context that while he covered a LOT of Dylan tracks, both live and in the studio, his only full-album tribute was to this rather obscure actor, singer, and occassional composer who passed away in 1934. He was mostly known for super-sappy (in a good way, sez me, in a horrible way said my mother LOL) ballads like "You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love", and a couple of songs that he also wrote, "Prisoner of Love" and "Too Beautiful for Words."

Here's Tiny's version of Prisoner of Love:



I'm actually going somewhere with this, and I'm grateful to anyone still with me. :ROFLMAO:

Bob's "autobiography" Chronicles is a great read, but it's kinda propaganda. It's got a number of what I think are intentional falsehoods along with some plain misremembering, and more than anything, it's the origin story of the Riverboat Gambler persona that he's adopted for much of the 21st century, and his obsession with songs going back to the late 19th century. That suits me fine, because me, my favorite decade-ish of Dylan as both a writer and performer is roughly the first decade of this century, from Time Out of Mind in 1997 to Together Through Life in 2009.

But with as many changes as even his most ardent fans had clocked, nobody saw coming his detour into Tiny Tim territory with the release of Shadows In The Night, and continued on Fallen Angels (2016) and Triplicate (2017; as the name indicates, a 3-CD set of such songs).

Many folks called it a bunch of covers that Sinatra had also covered, and while that includes a germ of truth, Bob himself called them UNcovers. "I don't see myself as covering these songs in any way. They've been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day."

Remarkably enough, Tiny Tim had used very nearly those exact words to describe his own mission! He knew that he was a clown, if not a freak, and his setlist in the 90s included everything from AC/DC's Highway to Hell and Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven, to Elvis, Johnny Cash, Dylan, a bunch of hymns, Yankee Doodle Dandy, opening with the aforementioned Bicycle Built For Two, and closing with a duet with himself on I Got You Babe. His goal, he told me, was for someone to hear something they liked enough to see what this crazy guy was doing with the song, and hope that they came away with some appreciation for the songs they'd never heard before, like Pennies From Heaven and Prisoner of Love!

(Part of the rest of the story is that after brunch, we interviewed Tiny every year for the TV show we produced on behalf of the couple who were our mutual friends, and he and I spoke at LENGTH about this stuff over the years.)

Back to Bob's "uncover" project. Some of them are super popular, say, Autumn Leaves or Stardust, but plenty of obscurities, too. My informal recollection thinks that the most commonly-covered writers over those five discs are Jimmy van Heusen and Harold Arlen, rather than the giants like Mercer and Berlin, who are there too.)

Here's one sample, and now that you've heard Tiny Tim's "real" baritone, tell me that you can't imagine what he'd do with this!



I used to see Bob every chance I could get, which was plenty because he spends so much time on the road....but he hasn't come to Hawaii since I moved here, so the last time I saw him was in 2016, and the closed the show with this number, which I think manages to wrap Bob up in a nutshell: "Why Try To Change Me Now?" :ROFLMAO:

In fact, he'd been awarded his Nobel Prize that week, and he was in a great mood. This was in the Coachella Valley, and I snapped a couple of pics of him --it is as it appears, Bob wearing one of his Riverboat Gambler suits with NO SHIRT.

View attachment 170801

View attachment 170802





Anyway, that's why nothing that involves Tiny Tim and Bob Dylan together surprises me. They became friends before either was famous, stayed friends based on both shared experience and the exact same set of core passions for old songs, with Bob living long enough to literally take on Tiny Tim's mission: bring you in for the songs you know, to share with you some songs you didn't.

As glad as I am that folks are discovering more about Tiny Tim on this thread, I hope that I can encourage some folks to listen more to 21st century Bob. I could write a whole book about any number of individual tracks of his from this century (notably, Mississippi from 2001's Love and Trust, but also Dreaming of You from Tell-Tale Signs and his Grammy-winning Cold Irons Bound). Even if the only era you care for is Bob in the 60s, I hope you explore his Bootleg Series, as the official albums represent maybe a tenth of his overall output, and by no means exclusively the best...but this is a fun little detour into the few years where for all practical purposes Bob WAS Tiny Tim. :)

Thanks, Tim. Great knowledge and insight, as usual.

I was never a Dylan fan until I saw him in person in the early '80s in Nashville. One of the tightest bands and best live performances I've seen.
 
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The links between Tiny Tim and Bob & the Beatles don't end there, of course; in 1996 an album of songs recorded by Tiny Tim and Brave Combo including the Beatles' Girl as the title track is released, which later clearly inspires Bob to release an almost identical polka-driven version of Must Be Santa for Christmas in the Heart in 2009 to that released by Brave Combo back in 1992! Shades of Al Yankovic too, with the accordion? :)



 
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Shades of Al Yankovic too, with the accordion? :)

Bob did more with accordion than you think! Indeed, one of the reasons why 2009's Together Through Life remains in my top 5 all-time Dylan records is because of the accordion of David Hidalgo (also the lead vocalist of Los Lobos) throughout.

It turns out that another guy obsessed with "the old, weird music" is T-Bone Burnett. T-Bone was of course part of the Rolling Thunder Revue, and became most widely known to the general public for his production on the soundtrack of the Coen brothers film, "O Brother Where Art Thou?" -- jam-packed with stellar examples of the old weird music!

T-Bone was also the producer of the debut LP for Los Lobos back in 1983, so it wouldn't shock me at all if T-Bone was the connection between David and Bob, as he has facilitated so many other previously unexpected relationships. (Alison Krauss and Robert Plant come to mind.) He really thrives on that kind of thing.

I strangely enough got to be a nodding acquaintance of T-Bone's in the early 80s through yet another mutual acquaintance, and when I met Tiny a decade later, one of the first things that ran through my mind was wondering what kind of magic T-Bone and Tiny might cook up together. :)

I was never a Dylan fan until I saw him in person in the early '80s in Nashville. One of the tightest bands and best live performance I've seen.

Given the number of bands he's led, and how different than they've been from each other, I think you can make a strong case that Bob is the best bandleader who's ever walked the earth. It's staggering to me to watch he pulled off, night after night. I saw a three-night stand in Boston in the early aughts where he only repeated two songs -- otherwise, it was a completely different setlist every single night. Fiddles, accordions, pedal steel, bouzouki (the first bouzouki I'd ever seen in fact), oud -- I can barely remember all the different INSTRUMENTS I've seen on stage with him, and dozens and dozens of players along the way. Heck, the guy had a band that featured Mick Ronson, fresh out of work after stints with Bowie and Mott The Hoople!

Otherwise, I think the only guy in his league as a bandleader might be Springsteen (another obsession of mine, if neither for as long or as deeply), but as much as they play legendarily long shows, I'm not sure that Bruce has ever worked a band as hard as Bob has.
 
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Our band actually does Tiptoe, sans falsetto. We do a lovely resesitive in front of it.

It's a genuinely fun song! Christopher Davis-Shannon has posted tutorials for two different versions of it, both Tiny Tim's (sans falsetto) and the Nick Lucas original, which I'm pasting below. It's superior in every way, except one: it's not Tiny Tim's version. :ROFLMAO: But I do really love this one:



Here's Nick's own version in 1944, although the song was originally published back in 1929, and performed by Nick in the 1929 musical "talkie" film Gold Diggers of Broadway. It stayed at #1 on the charts for 10 weeks!




He and Tiny became friends, and when Tiny Tim and married his first wife on The Tonight Show in 1969, Nick sang this song to the couple!
 
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