Currently Melting: Tiny Tim

By David Brehmer

Most who have heard Tiny Tim probably know him from his trademark warbling, falsetto rendition of “Tip Toe Through the Tulips”, a bizarre ukulele-backed ditty that became a novelty hit through exposure in an early 60’s cult film and a spot on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

What many don’t know is that Tiny Tim, born Herbert Khaury, was a prolific artist with an encyclopedic knowledge of early, American music and a range far wider than one might expect. To that end, San Francisco’s Secret Seven Records has just released, Tiny Tim: Lost & Found 1963-1974, a fascinating, vinyl only collection of 17 rare and previously unreleased recordings. (Distributed in limited edition by Revolver and Light in the Attic, and pressed by Record Pressing)

What’s on the record: 17 covers and originals spanning from pre-fame to post fame, including an early ’60’s studio session with Milton Glaser.

What’s in the package: Exclusive liner notes from Tiny Tim historian and biographer, Justin A. Martell, with cover photo by famed rock photographer, Baron Wolman.

Standout moments: There are many, but on first listen, “Me and the Man on the Moon.” An inspiring lyric is paired with a minor-key, klezmer-esque arrangement, honoring his cultural roots and putting an unexpected, ironic spin on the old “follow your dreams” pep talk.

Who said what: “I listened to this album absolutely entranced. Tiny’s genius is, I have always felt, utterly indescribable. Bizarre, devastatingly real, funny, sad—this album shows Tiny Tim as the emotionally naked and inspired innocent he was. What a remarkable man and artist, revealed as even more remarkable by this glorious and gorgeous album.”

– David Tibet, poet and musician with group Current 93

RIYL (Recommended if You Like): Daniel Johnston, Shel Silverstein, cult folk, character, a bit of a challenge.

To sum it up: With vocals ranging from unreal falsetto to gravelly croon, and selections running the gamut from sweet to demented, this collection is perfect for both Tiny Tim completists and those who aren’t familiar and want to learn. As bizarre as some tracks are, Tiny Tim’s confidence in his own idiosyncrasy is apparent throughout. An honest talent and a unique collection.

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