Mimi and Richard Farina
About Mimi and Richard Farina
Richard Fariña was a noted counterculture author and folksinger in the early '60s. Married for a time to folksinger Carolyn Hester, he was an early intimate of Bob Dylan, and in fact recorded a collectable album with Dylan (playing under the pseudonym Blind Boy Grunt) and Ric Von Schmidt in 1963. After marrying Joan Baez's sister, Mimi, he formed a folk-rock duo who released two acclaimed albums in the mid-'60s. Unlike folk-rock figureheads like the Byrds, the Fariñas were far more firmly rooted in folk than rock.
Their recordings effectively flavored their material (mostly written by Fariña) with jangling electric guitars and a rhythm section, ably assisted by such session players as guitarist Bruce Langhorne (who also played on Dylan's first electric recordings), bassist Felix Pappalardi, and harmonica player John Hammond. The Fariñas themselves also played guitar, autoharp, and dulcimer. Least successful with blues, they recorded some effective Appalachian-flavored material, and several excellent bona fide mid-tempo folk-rockers and ballads. Their best songs effectively balanced world-wise, sardonic observations with good-natured, melodic optimism.
The Fariñas' promising career ended prematurely with the death of Richard Fariña in a motorcycle accident on his birthday in 1966. His novel of the same year, Been Down So Long It Looks Like up to Me, became a cult favorite. Since Richard Fariña's death, Mimi Fariña has sporadically recorded and performed as a solo act. ~ Richie Unterberger