Monday, July 23, 2012


Richard & Mimi Farina

Joy Round My Brain by Richard and Mimi Farina on Grooveshark

Driving home late in the afternoon after a day bicycling in pastures and cornfields 8 feet high — look at! the ears of corn about the size of tubes of toothpaste. It's hot as blazes in there, earth cracked, no sign of rain for weeks. Up in the village where we rested in the shade and gulped water from our canteen, there was corn for sale, 50 cents each. We put two in our bicycle basket and took off. In another town yesterday, where we were also visitors, we bought four ears for 35 cents each at the side of the road and we'll see tonight for supper which village has the finest corn.

(And then rain did come in the middle of the night, almost half-filled our rain buckets in a long line at the back steel roof drip line. It's been three weeks a stranger. Nothing compared to the midwest drought).

On our jukebox coming home, driving slow as the river we're along, this very favorite song came up to play, windows open. Ah, me O my whatever happened to such songs? Where did they disappear to? We know Richard Farina disappeared to a bend in the road (Carmel Valley Road) along the Pacific on the California coastline as a passenger on a motorcycle going 90 mph. The cyclist, with Farina as passenger, flew off the road into a field, cut through barbed wire, and while the cyclist lived, Farina was dead on the spot at age 29. It was his wife's Mimi's 21st birthday. He had attended a book signing that day (and later a b'day party for Mimi) for his first book Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me with its protagonist Gnossos Pappadopoulis, most likely a spirited image of the author himself.

Farina had friends by the names of Lush (a German shepherd companion), Bruce Langhorne (played guitar on all three of the Farinas' albums), Bob Dylan and Thomas Pynchon, and Pynchon, who had been a fellow student at Cornell University, was Farina's best man at his wedding to Mimi when she was 17. The new couple had holed up in Carmel after the wedding writing their songs which would fill two unforgettable albums; a third was released after Farina's untimely passing. As was a second book, Long Time Coming And A Long Time Gone.

Ain't that the truth.

They had played Newport, recorded with Vanguard, Mimi was the younger sister of Joan Baez, and Richard had already been married to folksinger Carolyn Hester, toured together everywhere, but now it was 1966, and the world was about to flip.

Riding Thru The Rain by Bruce Langhorne on Grooveshark

Bruce Langhorne just released his first solo studio album in a 50 year career. It's called Tambourine Man. Langhorne is the Mr. Tambourine Man of the legendary Dylan song.

"I did a TV show with Dylan, I think it was the Les Crane show. And Bob Dylan said -- Les Crane had on a tie. And I was just playing second guitar. And Bob said to Les Crane, he said, Les, I like your tie, man. And Les said, oh, thanks, Bob. And he took it off and he gave it to him. Bob looked at him and he said, Les, I like your boots."