James William Hindle is a British folk singer/songwriter. He released four albums between 2001 and 2006. The first of these was the self-titled record on Badman Recordings. Badman started out more than a decade ago in San Francisco and is now in Portland, Oregon. It was founded by Dylan Magierek, who had worked very closely with Mark Kozelek, during the AC/DC days, when Kozelek turned a dozen or so AC/DC songs into folk ballads. Badman curated a couple of very cool tribute albums and charity compilations, like the amazing tribute to John Denver: Take Me Home, the Shanti Project Collections 1-3. Shanti Project is a San Francisco-based charity which supports people who are living with life-threatening illness. Although their primary focus is HIV and AIDS, they also support persons with breast cancer. Yes, that’s “persons” rather than “women”. Men get breast cancer too. It’s logarithmically less prevalent in men, but it does kill hundreds of men each year in the United States alone. Peter Criss, the drummer for KISS, had it and is now in remission. That’s beside the point, though. Badman put out some great compilation records. Collection 1 features Red House Painters, Idaho, Low, and Hayden. Collection 2 features Kristin Hersh, Mimi Parker (Low), Rebecca Gates (The Spinanes), and Julie Doiron, among others.
Anyway, it was on that magnificent John Denver tribute where I first learned about James William Hindle. He did a cover of “Whispering Jesse”. A year later, he released his debut record. The two strongest songs on that record are his cover of the Bee Gees song “I Started A Joke” and today’s song.
“Less of Me”, as covered by James William Hindle
This is a Glen Campbell Song. If you listen to the lyrics, you might be confused. It’s a song, essentially about trying to be humble and modest.
Let me be a little kinder let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me let me praise a little more
Let me be when I am weary just a little bit more cheery
Think a little more of others and a little less of me
You’ll probably wonder what in the world Glen Campbell would know about humility. He was a huge star. Men wanted to be him. Women’s panties disintegrated when he walked into the room. But that was later. This is early Glen. This is years before he was the Rhinestone Cowboy, getting cards and letters from people he didn’t even know, and waffles coming over the phone. Before he was even The Wichita Lineman. Before he even had that sleeping bag rolled up behind your couch. Glen Campbell released three full-length albums in 1967 and a staggering FIVE albums in 1968. “Less of Me” was on the first of those 1967 records — Burning Bridges, and it was actually the only song on that record that Campbell wrote.
To be honest, I had never heard it until I heard James William Hindle’s lovely cover of it.
Hindle’s version is better, I think. The original album version is kinda peppy and it’s all guitar, banjo, and an exceptionally bouncy piano. He played it a lot of different ways and in duets with lots of gals, but it’s almost always kind of bouncy and uptempo. Hindle’s version, by contrast is a gently strummed guitar, some brushed drums (played by the late Tim Mooney). The star of the show, though, is the somber violin. Or I suppose in this case, I should call it a fiddle. Either way, it’s incredible. The fiddle bit alone is worth more than twice the price of admission.
After the vocals drop out, from 4:20 to the end of the song, the fiddle solo is just heart-breaking. I have to keep backing that bit up to hear it over and over.
You can buy James William Hindle from the Badman Recordings web store here.