Tim Hardin - A brilliant legacy, marred by demons.
Tim Hardin – A brilliant legacy, marred by demons.

Tim Hardin – In Session for WTBS-FM, Cambridge/Boston – January 1, 1963 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

The name Tim Hardin may not ring a lot of bells these days, but the music he wrote which was performed by others is very much part of our musical heritage.

Probably his most famous song was “If I Were A Carpenter” which was a huge hit and became something of standard throughout the 1960s and early 70s. He also wrote Simple Song Of Freedom, which not only was a hit for him, but another song covered by many artists at the time as well as Reason To Believe, Misty Roses, Bird On A Wire and the list goes on.

But Tim Hardin the performer is probably not that well known these days. He did perform at Woodstock, and his many albums have been reissued over the years. His live performances were erratic and much of that had to do with a long-time Heroin addiction which eventually cost him his life at the age of 39. And as is often the case with time – people and legacies slip through the cracks.

Aside from his performance at Woodstock, not a lot of live material exists (or if it does, it’s been as-yet not discovered), so this appearance at the MIT college station WTBS in Cambridge/Boston from New Year’s Day 1963 constitutes a great rarity, particularly as an example of his early work in the realm of folk and Blues.

Sadly, the sound isn’t great, but it’s listenable – and as historic documents go, is a lot better than many from the period.

So, if you’re a Tim Hardin fan, or are just getting acquainted with his work – he has a rich catalog of work that warrants a serious look, listen and study. Maybe this 36 minute session will make you curious about a gifted and talented writer and artist whose career was cut short by an all-too-familiar set of demons.

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