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Reason to Believe: The Songs of Tim Hardin

(Full Time Hobby; US: 26 Feb 2013; UK: 28 Jan 2013)

Songs by the original black sheep boy.

Tim Hardin was one of the great songwriters of the 1960s. Many of his songs were covered and made famous during his lifetime (he died in 1980) such as Rod Stewart’s version of “Reason to Believe”, Bobby Darin’s “The Lady Came from Baltimore” and Joan Baez’s take on “If I Were a Carpenter”. These songs reveal Hardin’s poetic sensibility and romantic inclinations. But these songs are just the tip of the iceberg; almost every song Hardin wrote during his approximately 10 years of recording was a gem. The 13 tracks on Reason to Believe: The Songs of Tim Hardin reveal his continuing influence.


There’s Okkervil River, who once recorded an album based on Hardin’s song “Black Sheep Boy”, performing a dreamy version of the pensive “It’ll Never Happen Again.” Alela Diane offers a haunting take on the melancholy “How Can We Hang on to a Dream”. Mark Lanegan delivers a somber version of Hardin’s dreamy “Red Balloon”, a tune about hard drugs that sounds as innocent as a nursery rhyme. Most of the other cuts are performed by relative unknowns such as Sarabeth Ticek, the Magnetic North, and Pinkunoizo, but the material is strong enough to support anyone with a shred of talent—and these acts have much to offer in their performances even if one has never heard of them. The songs themselves are the stars here, and while there is much to recommend here, one would be better off to search for Hardin’s original recordings as they are the true masterpieces.

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Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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