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Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?

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BIRMINGHAM SUNDAY
BREAD AND ROSES
CHILDREN OF DARKNESS
HARD LOVIN' LOSER
MAINLINE PROSPERITY BLUES
PACK UP YOUR SORROWS
REFLECTIONS IN A CRYSTAL WIND


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JudyR 01 Nov 01 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Russ 01 Nov 01 - 04:20 PM
Deda 01 Nov 01 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Fiver 01 Nov 01 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Russ 02 Nov 01 - 08:45 AM
LR Mole 02 Nov 01 - 08:59 AM
JudyR 02 Nov 01 - 02:02 PM
browoowho 02 Nov 01 - 02:32 PM
Midchuck 02 Nov 01 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,Russ 02 Nov 01 - 02:47 PM
Little Hawk 02 Nov 01 - 09:39 PM
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Subject: Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?
From: JudyR
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 04:10 PM

There is a boxed set coming out of all their music, by the way, on Vanguard, due in stores November 13 (a friend of mine was involved, so I have this info).

To me, the songs still hold that wonderous charm -- and the Swallow Song, Children of Darkness, Miles, actually make me pause whatever I'm doing and take a deep breath, as the best songs do. Some of the music, if you're being picky, does sound silly sometimes -- on one I can't think of, Mimi does a little nonsense-sound warble (maybe it's Reno, Nevada?) that sounds dated.

I recently read a year-old review of their last reissue and the writer said they, like most "folkies," were "too polite and restrained by half" and that the music did not hold up. He also argued a point David Hajdu made in his book "Positively Fourth Street," that Richard was the first forerunner of folk-rock, not Dylan. AND he said Mimi could not sing (as I've heard others say!)

Maybe I'm not objective enough, because there is so much nostalgia packed into my listenings of these two. What are your feelings? I do recall very quickly getting over Joan, both when I heard them, as well as discovering old blues and country and the new singer-songwriters and interpreters.


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Subject: RE: Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 04:20 PM

Bought a CD reissue a coupla years ago. I was pleased with how good a lot of it sounded. Don't know why anyone would want to argue that Mimi couldn't sing other than to push an unreasonably arbitrarily precise definition for "sing."


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Subject: RE: Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?
From: Deda
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 04:34 PM

I actually dusted off my LP of them and listened to it a week or so ago. I think they hold up well. I didn't think that their voices blended as beautifully as, say, Ian and Sylvia's did -- but I enjoyed listening to them again after many years. Mimi can sing unless your minimum standard is Joan. I'd hate to aspire to be a singer if I had a sister who sang like Joan Baez.


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Subject: RE: Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?
From: GUEST,Fiver
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 05:25 PM

I dig their old vinyl out every once and a while for a fresh listen. Some of the songs are timeless, and some are very dated, which I like, because they tie in to what was happening at the time, and make it come alive again--I am glad to hear about the boxed set, and I'll sure be the first on my block--


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Subject: RE: Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 08:45 AM

Don't want to start a flame war but ...
I bought all her albums, and yes, by any definition Joan could sing, but I never liked her singing as much as that of some of her contemporaries (Sylvia Tyson, Judy Collins, etc.). On the earlier albums her singing was usually beautiful in a classical (and to me rather boring) sort of way. I preferred an earthier sound that seemed to come more from the heart than the head.


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Subject: RE: Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?
From: LR Mole
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 08:59 AM

I agree. Joan's in the next room, singing to the class. Mimi was right there. And such an ineffable quality of joy, to R and M's sound.Joan never wanted my sorrow, packed up or not, but it was certainly a comfort to hear about sharing from someone..
And while we're angering people with opinions, I think that that "Positively 4th Street" book should be avoided. The fact that singers, and artists in general, are not perfect people is hardly news, and I find the grim details unpleasant to read.


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Subject: RE: Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?
From: JudyR
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 02:02 PM

Well the book certainly made me like Bob and Joan less, but then, like most of you, my enchantment with Joan was short-lived (when there was no other female folk-singers around yet!)(Add Buffy St. Marie to Sylvia Tyson, Judy Collins and others who replaced her in my head). As for Bob -- is this sacrilege? -- I was so far into the "real stuff" by the time Dylan went electric, that I never had that idol worship of him, anyway, although songs like "Rainy Day Woman" and "Don't Think Twice" can zap me right back to a time and place. The book did make him out to be a little creep, didn't it? Then again, I understand that the bulk of the interviewing was with Mimi; therefore the point of view may have been hers.

Still on the subject of Hadju's book, it made me realize that if I'd known Richard Farina, I would have liked him an awful lot (Carolyn Hester, by the way, raised quite a few objections to that book in parts of an interview someone sent me (and I promptly lost) by reviewer Hugh Blumenfeld, if you can find it. Her objections were on the SIDE of Richard -- that Hajdu took liberties with time spans -- Richard didn't leave her THAT quickly, that she never held a gun at him, more.

Yeah, maybe it makes those R&M albums just a little bit less enchanted.


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Subject: RE: Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?
From: browoowho
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 02:32 PM

Well, let's see. I read the Hajdu book. I have had Mimi and Richard's vinyl since the 60's, and CD copies since the ??'s. I guess if there is anything Bob Dylan has told us over the years, it's to take him with a grain of salt, at least personally. I really enjoyed the book, and am not letting it stand in the way of enjoying the music of any of these folks, though I have always preferred Mimi to Joan on record. Joan in person, however, is a spectacular voice. Bob, too. Sorry to say I never saw either Farina live. Their records and songs have a real charm for me. I confess to not listening to them for many years. But one night on a road trip in Michigan, I found the reissue best of CD in a bookstore and listened to it with a bottle of brandy. I ended up bawling my eyes out. What great stuff (the music that is). I still listen to it fairly often, especially since I no longer drink. It's better than ever.


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Subject: RE: Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 02:39 PM

I had the great privilege of listening to them a good number of times at the Club 47 when I should have been reading law cases for the next day's classes.

Mimi could sing. Never doubt it.

And Richard was the greatest rock-and-roll fretted dulcimer player who ever lived.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 02:47 PM

One of the things I liked about Bob was that he did not pretend to be a warm and fuzzy people person. I remember he had a reputation for being a difficult person to deal with and to me that sort of went with his music. That music hit me right between the eyes the first time I actually listened to it and it was the music that kept me buying the albums, not the person.


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Subject: RE: Richard & Mimi Farina albums -- hold up?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 09:39 PM

Mimi could definitely sing, though not with that classical purity that Joan had (and I know that while some people love it, some others can't stand it). I saw Mimi once in Toronto, and she sang very well indeed.

The fact is, they could all sing pretty darned well...Mimi, Joan, Richard Farina, and Bob Dylan too...it just depends on whether you like their style or not.

Richard seemed like a very likeable guy...and very talented...it's too bad that he died so young. Bob was the one most people back then expected would come to an early end, but he's proven to have more staying power than any of them would have guessed...still touring regularly after all these years.

- LH


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