Joan Baez has announced, in an interview with Sunday Ramparts (a Bay area newspaper published by Ramparts) that the rock album she recorded last spring will not be released. At the Vanguard sessions under the direction of Richard Farina (shortly before his death), takes were made of five Bacharach songs, three Farina songs, and two Dylan songs. Vanguard has released two of the Farina songs ("Swallow Song" and "Pack Up Your Sorrows") on a single, which failed to catch on despite hit-bound predictions by the trade papers. Joan says that a few of "the lighter ones will be put on an album coming out later."
Joan's reasons for suppressing the rock album are noble enough: "I listened to all the tapes for two or three months. They just didn't make me happy. I read something that Ghandi wrote, something I was thinking, about how art should elevate the spirit. That decided me. It's hard to tell what's going to make me feel good. Good rock 'n' roll at its best makes me feel good, but there is a whole other level of being which rock doesn't come close to. In other words, I'm trying to grow up. That involves eliminating, not adding to, what's in your head."
Now that last statement is a rather amazing one. It explains a lot about Joan's thinking, and why she's dropped out of the current Dylanesque expansion of pop/folk music. And it certainly explains why she wouldn't want to release many of Farina's songs!
Joan's future plans include a January tour and a visit to Japan and India. Meanwhile, Mimi Farina will be leaving the rock group she's been singing with (The Only Alternative and His Other Possibilities) to make a record in New York with members of the Blues Project. "I want to put out a pretty record," she said. "It's nice to be coming up with ideas all the time. Rock 'n' roll is a gas, when people get together it's nice they can make music. It's also a nice way to spend your time, avoid the draft, or avoiding college or whatever you're doing." I hope that Mimi is also avoiding growing up--at least by Joan's definition!
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