Odd Stuff
Unusual Items, Parodies, Buttons, Bloopers, and things that won't fit anywhere else.

A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY:

"Farina"
Written by Penny Nichols
From Penny's Arcade
Buddah (BDS 5007) 1968

Penny Nichols wrote a song called "Farina" for her first album. I asked her about this song and this is what she said:

"'Farina' was the first song I ever wrote. I wrote it after reading Robert Heinlein's book Stranger in a Strange Land about the character Michael Valentine Smith. I wrote the song in 1966 and a year later I was invited to perform at the Big Sur Folk Festival. I sang "Farina" at the Festival and Mimi Fariņa and Joan Baez were both there. They both came and thanked me for writing a song about Richard. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I hadn't written it about Richard, because I loved Richard's music and figured, why not? I could have written it about him easily. They seemed genuinely touched by the song and it was a blessing that they heard it at all."
You can order this folk-rock/sunshine-pop classic from Penny's website at pennynichols.com


SPOKEN WORD LPs:

Tale Spinners for Children
Fariņa wrote several scripts for this series of childrens' spoken word LPs while he was staying in Paris in 1963. Richard and Joan Baez's mother provided the voices in one of them.

Long Time Coming and a Long Time Gone
Written and produced by Michael Friedman.
EMR Enterprises (EMR RH-9) 1969.

This was a spoken word recording of some of Fariņa's writings interspersed with interview segments with Mimi, which are different from the ones that appear as introductions to the selections in the book Long Time Coming and a Long Time Gone. This was not a commercial release; it seems to be a promotional kit for radio stations to create buzz for the book. The only known copy of this record is in the Library of Congress.


THEME SONGS:

An instrumental version of "Reno, Nevada" was used by the Inner London Education Authority as the theme song for its educational series on careers, circa 1975. Odd!

"Birmingham Sunday" opened the film, 4 Little Girls, Spike Lee's 1997 documentary on the bombing of the African-American church in Alabama. The Joan Baez version was used (from her 1964 album, 5).


PARODIES:

"Porpoise Mouth"
Written by Country Joe McDonald and Joyful Wisdom.
From the Country Joe & the Fish album, Electric Music for the Mind and Body.
Vanguard (VSD 79244) February, 1967.

Both rhythm and melody of this tune are unmistakably similar to "Raven Girl." That alone may not imply a connection, but the exuberantly mock-poetic lyrics do seem to mimic Fariņa's style. This passage in particular reminds me of "Raven Girl":
"I dance to the wonder of your feet
And sing to the joy of your knees.
The cold white dress on the mountain breast
Paints the frozen trees."
The song's final line, "and all the earth is love," recalls the last line of "Quiet Joys of Brotherhood," "when love was lord of all." (Although the Country Joe album was released in February 1967, before Memories, "Quiet Joys" had appeared on Pete Seeger's God Bless the Grass in January 1966.)

"Hippy Dippy Funky Monkey Double Bubble Sitar Man"
Written by Robert Hubbel
From the Hubbels album, The Hubbels.
Audio Fidelity (AFSD6221)

A sitar-drenched parody of "Hard Lovin' Loser", both in the driving beat and in the list of qualities possessed by the character. Fariņa's song is more nuanced, showing some affection for the hard-loving loser; while "Hippy Dippy..." is more invective. The duo seems indebted to Richard & Mimi's style, and their only record is a fun psych-pop rarity worth checking out. The song was also released as a single.


"The Dark Side of Mars"
Written by Bob Kenefsky.

This song is a parody of "Bold Marauder." The lyrics are on this webpage:
http://www.songworm.com/lyrics/songworm-parody/DarkSideofMars.html

Fritz the Cat
Created by Robert Crumb.

Yes, Fritz the Cat is actually a parody of Richard Fariņa, or more precisely of a persona Richard popularized, as revealed in the cartoonist's compendium, The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book (Kitchen Sink Press, 1997):
"I was working on trying to create characters which were social commentaries. I made Fritz the Cat into a wacky young sixties upstart who was trying to live up to the Jack Kerouac ideal of the hipster on the road... but he was a little bit too middle class. He was just a dreamer. I was satirizing the attitude of many young proto-hippies embodied in a guy like Richard Farina. Fritz the Cat hadn't been published yet but I showed it to a few friends and they liked it. It had an appeal to the hip college types." (p. 77)


BUTTONS:

This button was given out as a party favor at the commemorative event, "Richard & Mimi Fariņa: Trailblazers of the Urban Folk Revival," held April 30, 2005 in Brooklyn in honor of Mimi's 60th birthday and the 40th anniversary of Celebrations for a Grey Day.

"Girls say "Yes" to boys who say "NO!" was the slogan of a famous poster that featured Joan, Pauline, and Mimi posing for peace. The poster is reproduced in Joan's autobiography, And a Voice to Sing With.


SIGNATURE:

At right is Thomas Pynchon's signature, written inside a copy of his first novel, V. The signature is addressed to Richard Farina Senior and his second wife, Lillian, the father and step-mother of Richard Fariņa.


AN UNUSUAL COMPILATION:

Various Artists: String Alchemy: From Eclectic to Electric
Vanguard (79563-2) 2000.

There are dozens of folk compilations that include one or two famous Fariņa songs, but this one is unusual in that it selects three less famous songs, all of them instrumentals: "Miles," "Tommy Makem Fantasy," and "Dopico." This CD is a unique survey of acoustic, string-based, eclectic music, including Larry Coryell, Sandy Bull, Peter Walker, John McEuen and John Fahey. A great "mood music" collection. And it may be your only chance to hear Peter Walker on CD, since his Rainy Day Raga (1966) is hard to find these days.



FALSE PROPHECIES (things that were announced but never happened):

Richard's play: The Shelter
The liner notes for Celebrations for a Grey Day state that Richard wrote a play, The Shelter, that was produced by the Image Theatre in Cambridge and that Mimi danced in it. The play was also listed in the events pages of Broadside of Boston. However, Mimi stated in a 1972 interview with Patrick Morrow that the play was never actually performed. See the interview for more details.

The Richard Fariņa album
Vanguard used to include mini-catalog pamphlets in their LPs, and the Fall, 1968 catalog (pictured at right) listed three albums in the Mimi & Richard section, the third one being Richard Fariņa (see below). This may have been a tentative title for the album that eventually became Memories. The stock number for Memories was VSD-79263, while the one listed here is VSD-79281. (The catalog explains elsewhere that ** stands for forthcoming.)

Mimi's first solo album: More Than a Charitable Act.
An article in CoEvolution Quarterly in 1977 announced that Mimi's first solo album would be released that Fall, under the title, More Than a Charitable Act. (Apparently it was to be released by Wolfgang, a new subsidiary of CBS, but then they changed their emphasis from folk to rock, and dropped the album.)

Alternate Cover:
This alternate cover for The Complete Vanguard Recordings box set appeared in at least one online advertisement, but as far as I know it was never used. The lovely photo of Richard and Mimi on the beach, by John Cooke, can be seen in Baby, Let Me Follow You Down, page 281.


ABSENCE NOTED:

Apparently Richard and Mimi (or at least Mimi) were so popular after their Newport appearance, that their absence (well, Mimi's anyway) was noted in a photo retrospective of the Philadelphia Folk Festival in Broadside of Boston (September 29, 1965).

Click to enlarge


EBAY BLOOPERS:

Some blunders gathered from Ebay descriptions:


Thanks to the usual suspects--Greg, Geoff, Bill, and Ian--whose diligent Fariņa sightings provided many of the oddities listed here. If you know of any other odd stuff, write to me at doug@richardandmimi.com

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