Sing Out! June/July 1966
vol. 16, no. 3

The first issue of Sing Out! since Richard's death featured the lyrics to "A Swallow Song," a brief article by Irwin Silber, a Vanguard tribute advertisement, and, probably coincidentally, a question-and-answer on "Birmingham Sunday."

Irwin Silber Article:

Too many highways,
Too many byways,
And nobody's walkin' behind.

For Richard Farina, life was a succession of highways and by-ways and roadside stops. Every path and every resting-place was illuminated by the fire of creation. Songs, a novel, a play poured out of his heart and brain in an effort to show the world another part of the soul. Two LP's, recorded with his wife Mimi, and containing mostly original songs, were issued by Vanguard.

On May 1, just a few weeks ago, Richard Farina went down one byway from which there was no returning.

No use ramblin', walkin' in the shadows,
Trailin' a wanderin' star,
No one beside you, no one to hide you,
And nobody knows where you are.

HIs first novel, "Been Down So Long, It Looks Like Up To me," had been published the day before by Random House. In Carmel, California, a few miles from his home, there was an autograph party. Returning from the party Dick was riding as a passenger on a motorcycle that, highway police later said was going at a "terrific speed." The motorcycle suddenly skidded, sailed over a five-foot embankment and plunged through two fences. Richard Farina was killed instantly.

No use cryin', talkin' to a stranger,
Namin' the sorrows you've seen;
Too many bad times, too many sad times,
No body knows what you mean.

In a brief article prepared for publication with this song some time ago, Gordon Friesen wrote:

"Richard Farina had become not only one of the most prolific of today's contemporary songwriters in the folk style, but his work, lyrically and musically, stays on a uniquely high plateau. Modern protest songs have often been criticized for lambastic a corrupt and dehumanized society without offering any alternatives. Dick Farina offers a way out; through his lyrics runs an appeal for men to return to age-old and long-tested fundamentals if they would walk again in decency. A 20th Century Thoreau, he suggests brotherly love and a respect for nature as a solution."

Too many highways,
Too many byways,
And nobody's walkin' behind.


Vanguard advertisement
This seems to have been Vanguard's tribute to Fariņa following his death. p. 52.

I Want to Know...
There was a note in the questions-and-answers column on the source of "Birmingham Sunday":

Eugene Sanders, answering Peggy Pete's request for the tune on which "Birmingham Sunday" is based, states that the song is called, "I Once Loved a Lass" written by Ewan MacColl, who sings it on two different Tradition records: "The Folk Song Tradition" (TSP 2) and "Classic Scots Ballads" (TLP 1015). Donald Wade, Jackson Heights, N.Y., further informs us that the words can be found in The Singing Island by Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl (Mills Music, 1619 Broadway, N.Y., 10019).

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