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Richard Farina's 'Morgan The Pirate'

11 Jul 02 - 10:22 PM (#746905)
Subject: Richard Farina's 'Morgan The Pirate'
From: GUEST,CBJames

This is a wonderful song as noted in several Mudcat threads.

It is also rather pointed in its lyrics - Farina was obviously very pissed off with "Morgan".

Does anybody know the background here? Who was the song directed at / written about ? What was the issue that culminated in the song ?

I have wondered off and on about this for some thirty years now.



12 Jul 02 - 12:01 AM (#746936)
Subject: RE: Richard Farina's 'Morgan The Pirate'
From: Little Hawk

Morgan The Pirate was directed very pointedly at...Bob Dylan. He and Joan Baez and her sister Mimi and Richard Farina had been hanging out a lot together in the early 60's...they all stayed at Albert Grossman's house together for weeks while Grossman was away. Prior to that, Dylan and Farina had partied quite a bit together in England, and they played music together there too.

There were lots of reasons for hard feelings...both Farina and Dylan (and Joan Baez, for that matter) were very ambitious to make it big in those days. Joan had already made it big and was beginning to have her thunder noticeably stolen by Dylan, who was rapidly becoming more famous even than she was. Matter of fact, everybody was having their thunder stolen by Bob Dylan! She herself thought that Dylan was a genius, far and away the most important songwriter around, but she was not happy to be eclipsed by him nonetheless...nor scorned, for that matter.

Farina had big ambitions when it came to writing, and had been working hard for years on a novel that he took VERY seriously (Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me), but he was having a hard time finding a publisher. Albert Grossman had already found a publisher for Dylan's "novel", which hadn't even been written yet!. What Albert wanted, Albert got, and so what Dylan wanted, Dylan got too...Albert was adept at manipulating and controlling his clients in that fashion. He used to say things like "Just tell me what you want. Tell me who you want. I'll arrange it."

Joan Baez couldn't stand that attitude, and avoided working with Grossman, but Dylan clearly saw that Grossman was the most effective managemer around, even if he was a sleazeball.

At any rate, Richard Farina was absolutely furious that Dylan could get a publisher in a second for a book that hadn't even been written, when he figured his book was way better than anything Dylan would ever come up with in the form of a novel. He had some justification for feeling miffed about it...the so-called Dylan novel "Tarantula" ended up being an extremely disjointed and incomprehensible stream of consciousness thing which made almost no sense to anyone! Dylan's gift is in writing songs, not novels.

(I have the same problem. I know I'm a good songwriter, but I couldn't write a good novel to save my life...believe it.)

Farina envied Dylan's meteoric success, and was well aware of his flaws (virtually all people have feet of clay when you get to know them well). He figured he was far more deserving of that kind of success than Bob was.

He also had legitimate reasons to be angry with Bob's cavalier behaviour toward himself, Joan, and just about everyone else in their tight little circle of friends and acquaintances. Mimi was also mad at Bob over his bad treatment of Joan.

Bob, for his part was fed up with all of them...for a variety of reasons. There are some good books out there about it.

So, Dylan wrote "Positively Fourth Street" and "Like A Rolling Stone" and other vitriolic songs like that...and Farina wrote "Morgan The Pirate"...and Joan Baez eventually wrote "Oh Brother" ("you've done dirt to lifelong friends with little or no excuses...who endowed you with the crown to hand out these abuses?")

Yeah, well, these things happen. They were young, very bright and intense people with great ambitions and big egos, and they were caught up in a viciously competitive and commercial game...while consciously espousing the highest of ideals in their writing and performing. It makes for a pretty tense lifestyle...

But...they could never have gotten that mad at Dylan if not for the fact that his songs mattered so damn much to them and a lot of other people! That's what must have really hurt.

It's the old unrequited love thing. That's probably what it was with Bob too.

Richard Farina finally got his book published, and died in a motorcycle crash on the very day of the official book signing! Dylan cracked up on one 6 months later, and it probably saved him from dying, truth be told.

Life is strange, that's for sure.

- LH

12 Jul 02 - 12:14 AM (#746945)
Subject: RE: Richard Farina's 'Morgan The Pirate'
From: Little Hawk

One more postscript...Dylan was the one EVERYBODY expected to die young. They were sure of it. But he didn't. The man's staying power and tenacity has been extraordinary.

Both Dylan and Farina were extremely reckless in those days, each in his own particular fashion. Farina's recklessness caught up with him.

Everyone who knew Farina said that he lived every day to the fullest, with huge enthusiasm. He was very charismatic, charming, and full of energy. Maybe he instinctively knew that he didn't have long on this Earth, so best to make the most of it while it lasted...

- LH

12 Jul 02 - 04:35 AM (#747001)
Subject: RE: Richard Farina's 'Morgan The Pirate'
From: Paddy Plastique

Thanks for the info, LH. Managed to read 'Been Down So Long...' a few years ago
having only vaguely registered that Farina was also a songwriter. Would you
care to mention any of those good books on this lot in the early 60s
if all that typing hasn't left you drained :->

02 Sep 02 - 02:32 AM (#775407)
Subject: RE: Richard Farina's 'Morgan The Pirate'
From: Muskrat

The most obvious one is David Hajdu's Positively Fourth Street, which chronicles the intertwined lives of Richard & Mini, Joan and Bob -- and Richard's first wife, Carolyn Hester shows up, as well. It's a year or so old, and should be pretty easily available through and the like, if not your local bookstore.

I disagree with some of the author's conclusions (but who am I?), though his research seems quite solid.

31 Jan 12 - 04:59 PM (#3299882)
Subject: RE: Richard Farina's 'Morgan The Pirate'

Mimi's liner notes to "Memories," the posthumous Farina album, specifically calls "Morgan the Pirate" Richard's "farewell wave to Bob Dylan."

But the last verse, a loud crescendo (sung by Mimi, I think), is so badly recorded or mixed that some key lyrics are unintelligible. So I'm still trying to find the entirety of that verse.

31 Jan 12 - 07:06 PM (#3299941)
Subject: RE: Richard Farina's 'Morgan The Pirate'
From: Charley Noble

Lyrics would be nice to post.

Charley Noble

31 Jan 12 - 09:12 PM (#3299985)
Subject: RE: Richard Farina's 'Morgan The Pirate'
From: GUEST,999


Well OK buddy, have to thank you for the ride,
don't know how I would have made it without you.
Had to push when you got busted,
had to help you get adjusted,
had to pick up pieces after you'd been through.

But you had to have assistance
in confirming your existence
and establishing resistance
to the one or two hard feelings
one or two hard feelings
one or two hard feelings left behind.

It's all right brother, have to thank you for the
Don't know how I'd ever find my way alone.
There were other friends around you;
there were some who claimed they found you,
and a few who helped construct your favorite

But you saw your queen and raised her;
in the process you amazed her,
and if I may paraphrase her,
there are one or two hard feelings
one or two hard feelings
one or two hard feelings left behind.

So sit tight, daddy, let me say it's been a
Don't know how I climbed this ladder by myself.
Just because it's kinda broke, it [or "crooked"?]
doesn't mean you'd overlook it
or expect me up above you, giving help.

After all the lights were blinking
in the headlines of your thinking
while your open eye was winking
at the one or two hard feelings,
one or two hard feelings,
one or two hard feelings left behind.

Well, so long, mother, let me say it's been a
and as long as you're still climbing, I'll
You have been an inspiration
to your or image's creation
so I think I'll step outside and pass the time.

You have finished your debuting,
and you're ready for renewing,
and there's no time for undoing
all the one or two hard feelings
one or two hard feelings
one or two hard feelings left behind.

It's bye-bye, buddy, have to say it once again,
I appreciate your velvet helping hand.
Even though you never gave it,
I am sure you had to save it
for the gestures of the friends you understand.

You have gotten even higher
and become your own supplier
and the number one denier
of the one or two hard feelings
one or two hard feelings
one or two hard feelings left behind.

31 Jan 12 - 10:02 PM (#3300002)
Subject: RE: Richard Farina's 'Morgan The Pirate'
From: Charley Noble


Thanks for the smoldering lyrics.

Charley Noble

01 Feb 12 - 03:56 AM (#3300095)
Subject: RE: Richard Farina's 'Morgan The Pirate'
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

I think it really is broke, it.

Also you've typed an extra word or in l4 of the first half of v4; To your image's creation.

I haven't played Memories for years (the only record I have by Dick and Mimi); I must dig it out and have another listen, I used to play it a lot at one time.

You can hear Morgan the Pirate on youtube.