Tim Hardin In Concert  

Tim Hardin was a magnificent live performer when he was at his best and there are two splendid albums available on CD that demonstrate his talents. The Verve album, Tim Hardin 3 – Live in Concert, covers many of the tracks that he performed on his first two albums, along with some new tracks. There is no doubt that the quality of his vocals and of the performance of many songs on this album exceeds that of the studio versions. Indeed, the sparer instrumentation is actually preferable. Interestingly, three tracks that didn’t appear on the original album have been added to the CD.

He was signed to Sweet Reliable Productions, which must have been something of an irony to the many promoters who booked Tim, then found that he turned up in no fit state to perform or he had a somewhat self-indulgent approach to his music. For a spell, he stopped performing altogether, having developed stage fright. This was around the time when Bobby Darin had made a hit from "Carpenter", and touring would have improved album sales and artist awareness. His health was also poor over this period and he just wasn’t up to performing to the standard that would have helped his career, due to chronic bronchitis.

In the sixties, Tim was asked to perform live sessions for BBC Radio 1. There is a definite need for these tracks to be released on CD, if they have not been lost in an archive or erroneously wiped. The version of Hang On to a Dream played on the John Peel Sunday afternoon programme, with solo piano and spare vocals that could rip away your heart, is the initial reason for me being a fan. If music is about emotion, then the essence of music is in Tim Hardin’s voice on that recording.

Tim did perform at Woodstock and at the 1973 Reading Festival. The latter resulted in two tracks (Hang On to a Dream and Person to Person) appearing on the festival's live album. The Woodstock performance never appeared on the movie that came out in 1970. However it has been resurrected in a DVD that came out in June 2002. Woodstock Diaries contains 31 songs by various artists and includes If I Were a Carpenter, as sung by Tim at Woodstock in 1969. Interestingly, to mark the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock, BBC Radio 4 commissioned three short stories, one of which focuses on Tim's performance of If I Were a Carpenter at Woodstock.

The Woodstock Wiki website lists details of Tim's 30 minute performance as follows:

Musicians -

  • Tim Hardin - vocals, guitar

  • Richard Bock - cello

  • Steve "Muruga" Booker - drums

  • Gilles Malkine - guitar

  • Glen Moore - bass

  • Ralph Towner - guitar, piano

Setlist -

  1. (How Can We) Hang on to a Dream

  2. Susan

  3. If I Were a Carpenter

  4. Reason to Believe

  5. You Upset the Grace of Living When You Lie

  6. Speak Like a Child

  7. Snow White Lady

  8. Blues on My Ceiling

  9. Simple Song of Freedom

  10. Misty Roses

In the seventies, the booze and the drugs had completely taken hold for a long while and performing was shambolic. One tour was cancelled when he fell asleep on stage at the Royal Albert Hall. A fan wrote to me to describe the time he dismissed his band and proceeded to sing a capella for the rest of a brilliant evening. Tim had come to live in the UK to obtain prescription methadone and he and Tim Rose performed around parts of England. They did around a dozen concerts together. One review I have describes Tim Rose as being magnificent and suggests that Tim Hardin's input was something of an embarrassment. Tim Rose, in speaking about these shows to me a few years ago, was very kind about Tim, but there seems little doubt that he had the task of carrying the night most times.

Some time later, he appears to have cleaned himself up and kept off the heroin for a spell. He was invited to return to Eugene, Oregon to perform for the first time in front of his hometown folks. With Black Sheep Boy being the opening song, clearly this was an emotional return and the recording that ensued was certainly worthwhile. Sadly, either Tim chose only to perform his earlier work for that Homecoming Concert, or the songs from his later work weren’t considered suitable for issue on the resulting CD. This means that anyone who didn’t have the opportunity to hear Tim live will never be able to hear the songs done for CBS in live format. At one point during that Eugene concert, a member of the audience calls out for an indecipherable song. Tim replies that he only learned the song for the recording, played it once and then forgot it again.

The Eugene concert also resulted in a video which is now available. It consists of an interview and eight songs recorded in a rehearsal studio prior to the concert. The interview suggests a lot of warmth and a degree of unfulfilled hope. Even though much of what he says must be taken as his interpretation of events, it should be essential viewing for any fan. The songs show a maturity of voice and a relaxed confidence that was missing when he was younger and suffered stage fright. And to my great pleasure, he performs a wonderful version of Hang On to a Dream, with solo piano. Details of where to obtain this video are given in the Record Values page.

Any information from a fan who saw Tim Hardin in concert at any stage of his career would be welcome. My apologies to those who have already written to me, but whose emails were deleted by my Internet Service Provider when I moved home.

Performance Videos
I've gathered together a number of links to videos relating to Tim Hardin that have been uploaded to YouTube or equivalent. Click on the picture to enjoy the video.

Performance at Rough Trade records, London, by Smoke Fairies, Hannah Peel and Diagrams of their songs from the tribute CD, Reason to Believe.

Tim Hardin at Woodstock, performing If I Were a Carpenter

Another performance of If I Were a Carpenter during a PBS folk music special.

This is Tim on the Twiggy Show in the late sixties performing Misty Roses. It was re-broadcast by BBC4 in 2010.

Again, the Twiggy Show, but this time, Tim duets with Twiggy on The Lady Came From Baltimore.
The following are four uploads that look like they've been taken from the Homecoming Concert video.  Unfortunately, the person who put them on YouTube did not allow embedding, so here's the links for them:
Black Sheep Boy
Reason to Believe
Misty Roses
How Can We Hang On to a Dream
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any other performances by Tim on YouTube. There are plenty of  "videos" of  Tim's songs accompanied by pictures or album covers, but absolutely nothing showing him performing his songs, apart from the ones I've linked to above. If you know of any more, please let me know.
Top Page   Biography   Photographs
Record Listings   Record Sellers/Values   Top Ten Tracks
Your Comments Blog   Published Articles   Acknowledgements
Webmaster   Link to related sites   My Home Page