Mimi & Richard Fariņa:
The Complete Vanguard Recordings

Vanguard 200/02-2
Released November 13, 2001
Cover photo by Daniel Kramer.
Liner notes by Todd Everett.

Reviewed in:
Rolling Stone, November 12, 2001. By David Sprague.
f2 Network, January 12, 2002. By Bruce Eder.
Mother Jones Mar/Apr 2002, vol. 27 no. 2, p. 81.

DISC 1: (38:57)
1. Dandelion River Run - 1:43
2. Pack Up Your Sorrows - 2:59
3. Tommy Makem Fantasy - 1:30
4. Michael, Andrew and James - 5:08
5. Dog Blue - 1:44
6. V. - 3:32
7. One-Way Ticket - 3:27
8. Hamish - 1:47
9. Another Country - 4:01
10. Tuileries - 1:46
11. The Falcon - 3:39
12. Reno Nevada - 3:09
13. Celebration for a Grey Day - 3:50

DISC 2: (49:28)
1. Reflections in a Crystal Wind - 3:30
2. Bold Marauder - 4:04
3. Dopico - 3:54
4. A Swallow Song - 2:51
5. Chrysanthemum - 2:26
6. Sell-Out Agitation Waltz - 2:52
7. Hard-Loving Loser - 4:39
8. Mainline Prosperity Blues - 6:27
9. Allen's Interlude - 2:51
10. House Un-American Blues Activity Dream - 3:10
11. Raven Girl - 5:11
12. Miles - 2:54
13. Children of Darkness - 4:02

DISC 3: (75:46)
1. Quiet Joys of Brotherhood - 4:15
2. Joy 'Round My Brain - 3:48
3. Lemonade Lady - 2:02
4. Downtown - 1:35
5. Almond Joy - 2:12
6. Blood Red Roses - 2:30
7. Morgan the Pirate - 5:44
8. A Swallow Song - 2:48
9. All the World Has Gone By - 3:43
10. Pack Up Your Sorrows - 3:03
11. Leaving California (One Way Ticket)* - 3:31
12. Sell-Out Agitation Waltz* - 2:54
13. Pack Up Your Sorrows* - 6:19
14. House un-American Blues Activity Dream* - 3:25
15. Bold Marauder* - 6:15
16. Hard-Lovin' Loser* - 4:18
17. Dopico* - 6:58
18. Celebration for a Grey Day* - 7:49
19. Shady Grove (with Jean Ritchie)* - 2:06

*Live at Newport


Best Bang for your Buck. But...

The Complete Vanguard Recordings is comprised of the first two albums of Richard and Mimi Fariņa and an alternate version of the third album, Memories, with nine bonus tracks from the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Older fans who have waited decades for any new material by Richard and Mimi will cherish these live, longer versions of Fariņa favorites like "Bold Marauder" and "Pack Up Your Sorrows" (the latter with Peter Yarrow). The guest appearance of Jean Ritchie on "Shady Grove" (from a dulcimer workshop) is an extra special treat.

But despite the title of The Complete Vanguard Recordings, the box set has some omissions that you should know about. It doesn't contain any of the alternate versions released as 45s ("Reno Nevada"/"One Way Ticket" and "Pack Up Your Sorrows"/"Joy 'Round My Brain"). Nor does it have the alternate version of "Tuileries" that was included on the Pack Up Your Sorrows anthology just two years earlier. And it's a little disappointing that there were no other versions of songs in the form of demos or alternate studio takes, since some of these are known or rumored to exist. Furthermore, the two Newport tracks that were included on the original Memories-- "House Un-American Blues Activity Dream" and the medley "Dopico"/"Celebrations for a Grey Day"--are not included, although the misleading liner notes claims that they are. Newport performances of those songs are on this disc, but they are not the same versions as the ones on Memories. All the new material is excellent--maybe even worth the price of the whole box set, depending on how much of a Fariņa fanatic you are--but all these omissions are disappointing.

Some clarification is required to sort out all these different versions: The Fariņas performed at three different events at the Newport Folk Festival of 1965: The Contemporary Songs workshop and the Dulcimer Workshop (both on Saturday), and the New Folks concert on Sunday, the latter being the legendary rainy concert described by Hajdu and fondly recalled by Pete Seeger, Theo Bikel, and so many others. I believe the two tracks included on the original Memories ("House Un-American" and the medley "Dopico"/"Celebration") are from the rainy concert, as one can hear Peter Yarrow telling people to move the equipment out of the rain, and he jokes that "It is not raining." But Todd Everett, who wrote the liner notes for Complete Vanguard Recordings, claims that these Sunday concert recordings were "unlistenable." And to make things even more confusing, another part of the notes states that these allegedly unlistenable Memories tracks are included in the box set.

To make things worse, the credits for some songs on Memories, which name Bruce Langhorne, Fritz Richmond and Kyle Garahan, are transferred to the different versions included on the box set. (I cannot state for certain that all three of them did not perform with Richard and Mimi at both the dulcimer workshop and the rainy New Folks concert, but it does seem very unlikely that they would have the exact same lineup for two different functions, considering the loose nature of the programming at the Newport Festivals.)

If only the errors ended there! Everett also states that the songs "The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood" and "Morgan the Pirate" were not included on Memories! Yes, he actually states that they "never made their way to 12" vinyl" (page 16). Clearly, it is Everett who never made his way to the vinyl version of Memories in the course of his "research" for these liner notes. Also, "Celebration for a Grey Day" is listed as a previously unreleased song, but this one is obviously the same track that appeared for the first time on the 1995 compilation Folk Music at Newport, Part 1 (different lengths are stated on each CD, but the one on Complete Vanguard Recordings ends at 4:30, the same length duration of the track on Folk Music at Newport, and the remainder of the track on Complete is a conversation between Richard, Mimi and Jean Ritchie).

In addition to these blunders, there were a number of other, minor errors in the liner notes, which I shall try to set straight:

I admit that some of these errors are very unimportant. But taken all together, they make the liner notes as a whole seem unreliable. For instance, it's always been a mystery whether that is really Mimi playing guitar on the Singer Songwriter Project album, since she wasn't credited. Todd Everett tells us in the Complete Vanguard Recordings notes that it is indeed Mimi. We would like to welcome and trust this revelation from Mr. Everett, but in light of his numerous small errors, we still can't be sure it's Mimi. It probably is, but we still can't be sure.

What makes all this so disappointing is that the previous Richard and Mimi release, Pack Up Your Sorrows: The Best of the Vanguard Years, was also rife with errors, some of them even more obvious than the blunders in the current offering. Apparently Vanguard did not learn from their mistakes.

The music itself on this box set is beyond criticism; there is no question that it's worth buying whether you're new to Richard and Mimi or an old fan who hasn't yet replaced the vinyl albums. It's a great collection of songs at a very reasonable price that makes it suitable for both the seasoned fan and the curious newcomer. But it is NOT the one-stop shopping experience for Richard and Mimi's Vanguard material that the title implies. It's disappointing that care was not taken to provide accurate liner notes and to include all the existing material, or at least an accurate explanation for why some material was not included.

Douglas Cooke
Brooklyn, 2001.


Alternate cover for The Complete Vanguard Recordings. Photo by John Byrne Cooke.

HOW I WOULDA DONE IT:

Here is how I might have arranged a complete Vanguard recordings collection, based around the first two albums and the Newport tracks, with the Memories tracks split up chronologically:

Disc One: Celebrations for a Grey Day
PLUS:
"Lemonade Lady" (one of his earliest songs; a version was recorded for the Dick & Eric LP)
"Blood Red Roses" (I have no info on the date, but it seems early)
"Downtown" (possibly another early one)
"Tuileries" (alternate version from the 1999 Pack Up Your Sorrows CD)
"Pack Up Your Sorrows" (Memories version)

Disc Two: The Newport Folk Festival:
Saturday:
(the following would be versions from the box set)
"One Way Ticket"
"Sell-Out Agitation Waltz"
"Pack Up Your Sorrows" (with Peter Yarrow)
"House Un-American Blues Activity Dream"
"Bold Marauder"
"Hard-Lovin' Loser"
"Dopico"
"Celebration for a Grey Day"
"Shady Grove" (with Jean Ritchie)
Sunday:
"Dopico/Celebration for a Grey Day" (Memories version)
"House Un-American Blues Activity Dream" (Memories version)

Disc Three: Reflections in a Crystal Wind
PLUS:
"Joy 'Round My Brain"
"Almond Joy"
"Reno Nevada" (45 version)
"One Way Ticket" (45 version)
"Pack Up Your Sorrows" (45 version)
"Joy 'Round My Brain" (45 version)
"All the World Has Gone By"
"Swallow Song" (Joan's version)
"The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood"
"Morgan the Pirate"

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