Today’s Music to keep me SsSsSAAaaANNnnNeeEEE in Isolation – Richard and Mimi Farina

Richard Farina was another bright star who died before he really got going. What he might have been. Poor Mimi.

RICHARD & MIMI FARINA ~ Pack Up Your Sorrows ~ – YouTube

Mimi and Richard Farina – House Un-American Blues Activity Dream – A McCarthy

Mimi and Richard Farina – House Un-American Blues Activity Dream – A McCarthy

 

In the fifties there was a scare about communism. They thought the communists were infiltrating America and that equality and freedom were un-American.

The communists had to be rooted out of music, film and TV and there was a big purge. Many important people, including Pete Seeger were blacklisted.

Certainly all the new Greenwich Village ‘Protest’ singers would have been. Being different was un-American. You had to be a conforming, jingoistic patriot or you were the enemy.

Cuba was a communist bastion. Richard just happened to be Cuban.

House Unamerican Blues Activity Dream

I was standing on the sidewalk, had a noise in my head
There were loudspeakers babbling, but nothing was said
There were twenty-seven companies of female Marines
There were presidential candidates in new Levi jeans
It was the red, white and blue planning how to endure
The fife, drum and bugle marching down on the poor
God bless America, without any doubt
And I figured it was time to get out

Well, I have to b’lieve that in-between scenes, good people
Went and got ’em done in the sun, good people
Tourist information said to get on the stick
You ain’t moving ’til you’re grooving with a Cubana chick
So I hopped on a plane, I took a pill for my brain
And I discovered I was feeling all right
When I strolled down the Prado, people looked at me weird
Who’s that hippy, hoppy character without any beard?
Drinking juice from papayas, singing songs to the trees
Dancing mambo on the beaches, spreading social disease

Now the Castro convertible was changing the style
A whole lot of action on a blockaded isle
When along come a summons in the middle of night
Saying, “Buddy, we’re about to indict”

When I went up on the stand with my hand, good people
You’ve got to tell the truth in the booth, good people
Started out with information kind of remote
When a patriotic mother dragged me down by the throat
“When they ask you a question, they expect a reply!”
Doesn’t matter if you’re fixin’ to die

Well, I was lying there unconscious, feeling kind of exempt
When the judge said that silence was a sign of contempt
He took out his gavel, banged me hard on the head
He fined me ten years in prison and a whole lot of bread
It was the red, white and blue making war on the poor
Blind mother Justice on a pile of manure
Say your prayers and the Pledge of Allegiance every night
And tomorrow you’ll be feeling all right
Uh-huh-huh

Mimi and Richard Farina – House Un-American Blues Activity Dream – A McCarthy

In the fifties there was a scare about communism. They thought the communists were infiltrating America and that equality and freedom were un-American.

The communists had to be rooted out of music, film and TV and there was a big purge. Many important people, including Pete Seeger were blacklisted.

Certainly all the new Greenwich Village ‘Protest’ singers would have been. Being different was un-American. You had to be a conforming, jingoistic patriot or you were the enemy.

Cuba was a communist bastion. Richard just happened to be Cuban.

House Unamerican Blues Activity Dream

I was standing on the sidewalk, had a noise in my head
There were loudspeakers babbling, but nothing was said
There were twenty-seven companies of female Marines
There were presidential candidates in new Levi jeans
It was the red, white and blue planning how to endure
The fife, drum and bugle marching down on the poor
God bless America, without any doubt
And I figured it was time to get out

Well, I have to b’lieve that in-between scenes, good people
Went and got ’em done in the sun, good people
Tourist information said to get on the stick
You ain’t moving ’til you’re grooving with a Cubana chick
So I hopped on a plane, I took a pill for my brain
And I discovered I was feeling all right
When I strolled down the Prado, people looked at me weird
Who’s that hippy, hoppy character without any beard?
Drinking juice from papayas, singing songs to the trees
Dancing mambo on the beaches, spreading social disease

Now the Castro convertible was changing the style
A whole lot of action on a blockaded isle
When along come a summons in the middle of night
Saying, “Buddy, we’re about to indict”

When I went up on the stand with my hand, good people
You’ve got to tell the truth in the booth, good people
Started out with information kind of remote
When a patriotic mother dragged me down by the throat
“When they ask you a question, they expect a reply!”
Doesn’t matter if you’re fixin’ to die

Well, I was lying there unconscious, feeling kind of exempt
When the judge said that silence was a sign of contempt
He took out his gavel, banged me hard on the head
He fined me ten years in prison and a whole lot of bread
It was the red, white and blue making war on the poor
Blind mother Justice on a pile of manure
Say your prayers and the Pledge of Allegiance every night
And tomorrow you’ll be feeling all right
Uh-huh-huh

Mimi and Richard Farina – Sell-Out Agitation Waltz –

Richard Farina was killed in a motorbike accident. He was the one most tipped to give Dylan a run for his money. I loved him. Mimi was Joan Baez’s sister. Together they were formidable rebels.

This song was written in the sixties when it was considered hip to drop out.

We were suspicious of society. We did not think they were making good decisions. We did not like conforming. We did not like the idea of wearing a suit, working all your life in a career, getting married and having kids and suddenly realising that you were old, hadn’t done anything and your life had passed you by.

We saw the older generation as already dead and did not want to be like them.

We wanted to have interesting, vital lives, to do things, think things, fun, travel, meet people, wonder, experience, find meaning, oppose madness and live.

We were not content to be cogs in the machine, neither did we want to be big wheels.

Yet the pressure was to sell-out, drop back in and take the money.

Mimi & Richard Fariña:Sell-Out Agitation Waltz Lyrics

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Well…
you know the reason that nobody’s pleasin’
the one who’s been freezing him out

The times are unsteady
And nobody’s ready
To sleep in a bed full of doubt

But if you wanna fool around
And run around
All over town
There’s no telling where it will end

The teachers say you gotta stay
In school just another day
And study the logical trend

So cut your hair
And never stare
At people who ain’t aware
That every morning they wake up dead

Take off your boots
And find your roots
And join the ranks of the young recruits
Who have a collective idea

Well you’ve been a-gassin’
And you been harrassing
The one who’s been passing you by

The right time for groovin’
Is always improvin’
Provided you learn to comply

Society is never geared
To people who grow a beard
Or little girls with holes in their ears

They’re liable to hunt you down
And dress you in a wedding gown
And offer substantial careers

They’ll buy you a suit of clothes
And pay to get another nose
So no one will turn you away

You’ll wear a tie
And hope to die
If any more you try to buy
From people with nothing to say

So find a loose alternative
If that’s the way you wanna live
And give up unusual friends

There’s still time to straighten out
And learn how to beat about
And make your great plan of amends

So cut your hair
And never stare
At people who ain’t aware
That every morning they wake up dead

Take off your boots
And find your roots
And join the ranks of the young recruits
who have a collective idea…

Richard Farina – Opher’s World pays tribute to a genius.

Richard & Mimi
If you like larger than life characters who exude idealistic fervour, live crazy lives, run at manic speed, are capable of anything, are musically brilliant, are zany and different, who run on another time to the rest of the world, whose minds operates another way and who does all that with large dollops of humour then Richard Farina is your man.
People who saw him on the Greenwich Village scene claim he was the only person who might have given Bob Dylan a run for his money. I don’t know about that. I’ve only the limited number of recordings to go on. He played guitar and was an expert on the Appalachian dulcimer. He wrote a number of excellent songs and also a novel called ‘Been down so long it looks like up to me’.
He certainly was a multitalented guy.
Richard teamed up with Mimi (Joan Baez’s sister) to create a formidable duo. Richard was extremely political and put his body where his mouth was, visiting the revolutionary Cuba and supposedly fighting for the revolution.
As a songwriter he was exceptional and had really only just got into his stride when he was so tragically killed.
The couple only recorded a couple of albums but it was sufficient to establish them as great and highly original performers. Richard’s live-wire persona was much to the fore on his humorous political songs. He lambasted the McCarthy witch-hunts and provided a great parody of himself as a hard-headed loser.
In the days following the publication of his first novel he was at a party to celebrate Mimi’s birthday when he decided to go out with a friend for a spin on his bike around the mountain roads. They were going too fast and never made it round the bend. Richard was killed instantly. All that glorious possibility died with him. I don’t think Mimi ever got over it.
That’s all he wrote.