This album, along with the much more celebrated and commercially successful "Bringing It All Back Home" by Bob Dylan, marked the beginning of American folk-rock.
The Dylan album, another favourite of mine, quite rightly always crops up in all-time best lists, but sadly the work of the Farinas is overlooked. This is an immense shame, for what we have here is a great record. It indicates that had Richard not met his premature end, he and his wife would have been the only contenders at the time to give Mr Dylan any competition. Richard's lyrics are sometimes dark, deep and mysterious ; often romantic and humourous as in "Hard Loving Loser", a song also recorded by Judy Collins.
The Dylan-Farina connections are well documented and may be known to you. Mimi being Joan Baez's younger sister and in those days Bob and Joan were an item. Literally, the King and Queen of Folk. As well as friendship, there was probably rivalry and some jealousy. Richard's "Morgan The Pirate", not included here, seems to be about Dylan. It can be found on the 'bits and pieces' album "Memories" which came out after Richard's death. Further connection is the presence of the excellent electric guitarist Bruce Langhorne who also played on Dylan sessions.
While Richard and Mimi never quite rock out as hard as Bob, the electric band which is on some of the tracks here is very creditable ; features Felix Pappallardi on bass and John Hammond on harmonica amoung others. Richard and Mimi's musical spectrum is, however very wide. They almost always sing together in a very distinctive combination and the sound of them accompanying themselves on dulcimer and guitar on the acoustic tracks is unique and adds greatly to the mystic of some of the songs. But that's not all ! They also include the odd very Eastern and progressive instrumental track, aided by Bruce Langhorne and his 'tambourine-weapon collection'! All in all this is one of the great under-rated albums and highly recommended to anyone who's into sixties Dylan and the folk-rock genre in general.
The sleeve has short notes about each song by Richard which are informative and a nice touch. Additionally there is his Thank You piece which gives a taste of his humour. . ."What we'd like to do is. . .thank Peter Sellers for keeping his secret identity ; Paul Butterfield for being born in Chicago; and Lyndon B Johnson for being homefolks enough to show us all his operation !"
No, most of all, thank you Richard and Mimi Farina.Read more ›