In a wonderful bit of news for far-gone vinyl collectors looking to up the stakes on unnecessary depths of obscurantism, the Ship to Shore Phonograph Company is releasing a version of “Nobody Else Can Love Me (Like My Old Tomato Can)” cut by musician/antiquarian/delightful freakshow Tiny Tim - on the utterly obsolete Edison Cylinder format. Per Hyperallergic‘s Allison Meier:
Only 50 of the cylinders were recorded by Benjamin Canady (aka “The Victrola Guy“) who has been working with ongoing experiments of recording on old Edison cylinder phonographs. As the Vinyl Factory points out in their coverage of this momentous music resurrection, the cylinder record hasn’t totally vanished — Beck also used this tech recently as inspiration for his tracks cut into a beer bottle this year — but there’s been no wide release for the round records since the early 20th century. And if you decide to buy one of the Tiny Tim recordings for $60, it’s quite likely you’ll have no way to play it, although they each do come with a digital recording of the song blaring from some antique phonograph horns. This isn’t the analogue age, after all.
If the only bells the name “Tiny Tim” ring for you are Dickensian, he was an out-of-left-field media star in the late ‘60s. Even in a decade as indulgent of oddities as that one was, Tim’s (nee Herbert Khaury) weirdness stuck out farther than most. He was a musician of an old-timey archivalist bent, and he might have made a fine fit for the early ‘60s folk revival if that movement hadn’t been so grimly earnest. His stage presentation was disarmingly odd - coming off as a pudgy, sartorially randomized, lysergically Jewy hybrid of Carl Sagan and Danny Devito’s Penguin, he sang hits and obscurities from the turn of the 20th Century to the Depression era in an improbable falsetto. He rose to fame and had a massive hit single with “Tiptoe Through The Tulips” thanks to appearances on TV comedy/variety shows that appreciated his eccentricity, most notably Laugh-In and The Tonight Show. It was the latter program on which, at the height of his fame, Tim notoriously got married in front of an audience of over 20 million. As he was utterly genuine in his love of the music he performed, his act fell out of step in changing times, which inevitably led to his waning popularity. Though he did eventually add some modern material to his repertoire, doing so only served to underscore his diminished stature from a popular conservator to a fringe dwelling novelty act. He died in 1996 of a heart attack suffered onstage in Minneapolis.
Here’s the seldom-seen A Special Tiny Tim from 1970: