If I Were a Carpenter was written by folksinger Tim Hardin and is one of the first songs I remember hearing and being very fond of. There are many versions but Bobby Darin’s slower live version presented below is my favourite. There is also a version by Dylan with the Band on the The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete which tickles my fancy. This is the second song to appear here from Bobby Darin. You can find more biographical information about Bobby Darin in my first post – Dream Lover. If I Were a Carpenter is a romantic ballad which has an alluring melody and unambiguous lyrics.
If I were a carpenter
And you were a lady,
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my baby?
If a tinker were my trade
Would you still find me,
Carrin’ the pots I made,
Followin’ behind me.
If I Were a Carpenter was re-recorded with commercial success not only by Darin, but also The Four Tops and Johnny Cash. It secured a return for Darin to the Top 10 after a two-year absence. He took some time to record his original ’66 version in the recording session and did not finish it until 7 o’clock in the morning. It received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Rock and Roll Solo Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards but lost to Eleanor Rigby by Paul McCartney.
The song is rumored to have been inspired by Tim Hardin’s love for actress Susan Morss, as well as the construction of Hardin’s recording studio (in the home of Lenny Bruce). Hardin started his music career in Greenwich Village which led to recording several albums in the mid- to late 1960. His song Reason to Believe was also covered by many artists, notably Rod Stewart (who had a chart hit with the song). Hardin struggled with drug abuse throughout most of his adult life, and live performances were sometimes erratic. He was planning a comeback when he died in late 1980 from a heroin overdose.
1. If I Were a Carpenter (song) – Wikipedia
Have always loved this song. It was a stylistic change for Darin, and he nailed it.
Hi Jeff, he hit a home run with it. What’s your favourite version?
It would be Darin’s by a long shot.
I agree. Original or slow version?
The original version released as a single.
Yo te doy los hijos que quieras mi marinero estrella.
The first time I ever heard this was a live version by Bob Seger. This is a very good version as well.
Have you heard Johnny Cash’s version with June Carter Max? Drop all tools if you haven’t heard it. I didn’t know Segar covered it. Must listen.
I just did and it is great… of course I should have known.
Same here. I’m chuffed you liked it. I hadn’t heard it until after writing the article. My golly is it good. I love how they coalesced, those two.
I heard Segar’s version. It’s a soul genre perspective. Not my cup of tea, but it’s Seger hehe