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The Tin Man Was a Dreamer

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Album Review

Nicky Hopkins' finest solo album, the memorably titled The Tin Man Was A Dreamer is a solid piece of engagingly edgy pop-rock — picture Elton John's early '70s work with more variety, a few rough edges, and a bit less ego. As one would expect, Hopkins' piano playing (augmented by the organ in spots) dominates most of the songs, but there's ample room for strong contributions from George Harrison (working as "George O'Hara") on lead and slide guitar on four of the tracks, and Mick Taylor on lead and acoustic guitars on four tracks; the rest of the band includes Klaus Voormann on bass and Bobby Keys on sax, as well as future Tubes alumnus Prairie Prince on drums. Highlights include the hauntingly beautiful ballad "Dolly", the closest thing to a potential hit on this album, featuring a moving vocal performance by Hopkins (who wasn't known as a singer), with a beautifully understated lead guitar contribution by Taylor; the instrumental "Edward", featuring Hopkins' piano and organ rippling across a wide range of musical textures; the pounding, pumping rocker "Speed On", which offers Hopkins and his songwriting partner Jerry Williams on vocals; the wittily scatalogoical "Banana Anna"; "Lawyer's Lament", with its exquisite harmonies and Taylor's sensitive lead playing; and the rollicking "Pig's Boogie", which crosses paths with the work of Merrill Moore and Jerry Lee Lewis. This isn't a perfect album, lacking the pronounced pop hooks of, say, Elton John's work of the same period, to put it across to the public, or the personality flash to go with the virtuosity to make Hopkins into a star, but it is a very worthwhile foray into center-stage by one of rock's most renowned side- and session men. Reissued on CD by Sony Music in Japan in the 1990's.


Born: 24 February 1944 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Check the credits on any number of rock albums from the late '60s through the '80s, especially Rolling Stones albums, and you'll come across the name Nicky Hopkins. For almost two decades, he was the most in-demand session pianist in rock; the Beatles, Kinks, Who, Jeff Beck Group, Steve Miller Band, Jefferson Airplane -- there was hardly a major rock band in the world that hadn't benefited from Hopkins' deft touch at the keyboards. Born in London in 1944, Hopkins honed his chops with Screaming Lord...
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The Tin Man Was a Dreamer, Nicky Hopkins
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