Best of Mimi & Richard Fariņa
Vanguard, VSD 21/22.
Re-issued on CD in 1988 as VCD 21/22.
CD running time: 73:45
Cover photo by Daniel Kramer
The Best of Mimi & Richard Fariņa was released in 1971 amidst a flurry of other Fariņa-related events, including the movie adaptation of Been Down So Long, a musical based on Richard's life, and Mimi's album with Tom Jans, Take Heart. The original vinyl version of Best of was a double album comprised of the two Richard and Mimi albums, Celebrations for a Grey Day and Reflections in a Crystal Wind. The gatefold sleeve opened to reveal 17 black-and-white photos by Kenneth van Sickle, showing Richard, Mimi, and their dog, Lush, prancing around Central Park (from the same photo session that provided the cover of Celebrations).
Best of was the first Richard and Mimi album to be re-issued on CD. This was a natural choice, since record companies in 1988 probably did not foresee the explosion of interest in rare and forgotten sixties artists in the later nineties, so the best-of package, generously squeezed onto one CD, must have seemed sufficient at the time, even with several songs omitted for the sake of space. Vanguard cut out six instrumentals, four from side one of Celebrations ("Dandelion River Run," "Tommy Makem Fantasy," "Dog Blue," and "V."), and one from each side of Reflections, ("Chrysanthemum" and "Allen's Interlude"). But cutting out so many instrumentals gives a misleading impression of what the Fariņas' music.
Since Best of has been superceded by another anthology, the re-mastered Pack Up Your Sorrows collection, I'd say that Best of is now the most inessential Fariņa CD. You'd be better off getting the LP just for the sake of the beautiful Central Park photos. Of course, it's still a great CD packed with great songs. This was the first Richard & Mimi CD I ever bought, and it served me well for a year or two until I decided to delve deeper into the Fariņas' music.