Monday, June 28, 2010

Tiny Tim with Brave Combo: Girl (1996)

(As published in Real Groove ... )

Tiny Tim with Brave Combo
Girl (Rounder)

Here we have fourteen songs that represent not only the first significant recording in years by that paragon of peculiarity, Tiny Tim, but also Mr. Tim's genius for never having met a song he didn't like. The liner notes call him "a living treasury of romance and music," and the eclectic tracklist supports the description. Beatle tunes ("Girl," "Hey Jude"), pop standards ("New York, New York," "Over the Rainbow," "Bye Bye Blackbird"), and flat-out corn ("Sly Cigarette," "I Believe in Tomorrow") follow one upon the other, linked by Mr. Tim's vibrato-heavy baritone--at sixty-something, he seldom summons his famous falsetto--and Brave Combo, the Grammy-nominated sextet known for its ability to master everything from polka to Oriental folk. The tight, lively playing keeps Girl from sheer novelty, providing the often campy songs with a solid musical grounding and tempering Mr. Tim's more unnerving vocal eccentricities. Not that a tempered Tiny Tim isn't plenty eccentric already, but with Brave Combo he seems less like a sideshow attraction and more like a well-preserved escapee from a time capsule sealed in the days of minstrel shows (if minstrels had done "Stairway to Heaven").

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