Guest Book

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From: Michael Perrotta
15 August 2011
I sang with Richard and Mimi...when I was 6 years old!!!! I grew up in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, and my next door neighbor was Richard's father, "Mr. Farina," and his wife Lillian, who lived at 415 Allen Ave. I remember singing "Dawn" for them and playing my guitar. They also sang for me but I don't recall the songs. Mr. Farina taped us on a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and unfortunately I never made copies of those. I remember talking to Mimi in the back yard. They had a huge white dog also. Mimi had incredible eyes and that's what I remember about her most. Richard told me to keep practicing my guitar. I'm wondering if this was 1965 or 1966. The weather was warm and I think I remember blooming forsythias, which last a short time in spring so perhaps this was very close to the time of his death (April 30,1966). Richard's father and Lilly were always very supportive of me. I don't recall the incident of his death or hearing anyone speak of it. I always sang for them on their porch and even at parties. Lilly was a tall Swede who wore flowing caftans and drank afternoon cocktails with the other neighboorhood ladies. She was the first person to explain to me what a peace symbol was!!! Mr. Farina told me a story once pertaining to the filming of Richard's book which I believe he said he had gone to. He told me that the director had asked, "Where's Michael?", because he said his son was always talking about me. That obviously didn't happen, but I'm sure he felt that would make me feel good. I treasure those memories!!! Great site.
Michael Perrotta.

415 Allen Street in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn; from Google Maps.

From: Charles M. Fraser
23 October 2009
Thank you for with one word, immunity, turning my bulb of awareness up brighter. May it shine ever after in appreciation.
Charles M. Fraser

From: Sivert Bramstedt
27 May 2009
A couple of weeks ago I told my friend Jon Bennetts about the site and he wrote about his experiences, re Fariña. My life was changed when I was 12 years old and heard Memories on the radio in Sweden where I was born and raised and still live. I wrote a leter to Mimi a year later and got a beautiful letter with a signed photo back. In 1971 she played her one and only Stockholm gig in a club with Tom Jans, and, being 15 and very shy, I sat and listened to them sing. As a final number their voices blended in " Children of darkness" about the confused time Richard Fariña lived in. A bit later I made my first money writing about their record in a local newspaper. Got me started on the downhill path. A few years later I found myself as a streetsinger in Paris and all over Europe and North Africa and the States. Returning to Sweden six years later, I had met thousands of people who had met and known Richard and Mimi. In the Village I stayed on Dave Van Ronk's famous couch. In Belgium I opened a show for Jack Elliott. In Paris I met surviving Beat poet Dixie Nimmo, etc. The first gig I played in Stockholm happened to be at Mosebacke where Mimi and Tom had played 12 years earlier. Did I feel proud going up on stage that night singing my young heart out. I raise a little family then and started working as a professionall blues singer and guitarist. Thats why my new CD Blues and Joys is dedicated to Mimi Fariña among many others (Rootsy 026). The record was released on May 6 and is selling a lot already. Following Jonathan Bennetts' advice, I didn't jump on a red Harley after the release party. So I live to tell the tale.
Love, Sivert Bramstedt, Sweden.

From: Jonathan Bennetts
11 May 2009
I was fortunate to meet Richard and Mimi in Paris I think around 1961/2. I was a street singer, Jonathan, with my brother Ian Bennetts and Alex Campbell (who married Peggy Seeger for a passport assist). Our hangout was Bar Monaco just off St. Germain Carrefour de l'Odéon. Richard was a wonderful talker/debater, and we had many philosophical discussions, fairly absurd on my part owing to my somewhat exalted ego and tender years...i.e., 21. He never got pissed off or impatient, I recall, and when we set off to do our cafe singing rounds he would stay put and do his writing thing which we all believed to be so much nonsense. On a couple occasions he and Mimi both came down to our Sunday special at the Pont des Arts and she had a lovely sweet voice and he played a mean harmonica. Met sister Joan also when she was visiting. I had previously played a gig with one Bobby Zimmerman at the Black Horse in London where I was filling in for my mate Long John Baldry. A very polite and deferential young man was our Bobby then. I met up with him again in the village in 1963 and we reminisced about London. I apologise for all the name dropping here, but what the hell, gives some colour, doncha know.

Some time later I was catching a train at Brighton station when I espied Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me. Bloody marvelous title. I purchased it immediately and grabbed a coffee, then sat down in the station, missed my train and read the entire book. It was astonishing for a first book and affected me deeply, and believe me I am a literary snob--Durrel,Ford Maddox Ford, C.P. Snow, etc. So his creative endeavour was a tour du force and I can only urge anybody who has not read it to do so. Then I was in California when I heard about his death. It reminded me a bit of a movie called The Wages of Fear, with Yves Montand celebrating a horrendous and dangerous trip with such wild abandon he drove off the cliff and perished. I like to think that Richard was celebrating his book too, and if you have to quit this mortal coil prematurely, that would be a fitting way to do it. So halleujah for Richard and Mimi. Right now I am writing a book, Excerpts from the Life of a Street Singer, and they all appear on the pages. If it's 25% as good as Richard's BDSLILLUTM then I will rejoice. Peace and life,

From: Bruce Peddy
10 February 2009
I was kind of hanging out by the front door of Barbara Warner's small cabin in the Carmel Highlands with my lover Kim Chappell smoking some really good weed with flecks of hash mixed in the leafbuds when the door creaked open and Richard Fariña and Mimi came in. He was kind of reserved from the smell, like old time hipsters sometimes were when the fumes hit them in the face entering a place before they get the idea it is a safe place to act normal. Kim stuck her tongue in my ear and said "Take it easy with Mimi." I could still hear in those days, although I was still wind-blown from the ride Kim and I had just done on my BSA 650 cc Lightening Rocket motorcycle running flat out in the Valley. The headlight had died and a car up ahead was about to turn left in front of us and there was no chance of stopping so I accellerated and we just made it--Kim never panicked in a tight situation. The best motorcyle momma I ever took a ride with--but I laughed when Kim told me to take it easy on Mimi--I didn't know if she meant the smoke or if she meant they were totally in love and not to try to make a move on Mimi's bod because Mr. Fariña would shoot me--but I laughed because I had recently heard him say something over in Joanie's living room at that house with the curvy roof and I really listened to what he said and I respected him, and anyway Kim was keeping me busy in the hay. What Richard Fariña said was: "The only way I can influence others is by example. Preaching won't do any good and it makes me feel like a fool to try to change anyone's life that way. But if I live a certain way and present an example and it helps others, then that is as far as I want to take the idea of prosletyzing." I had already sent Lyndon my draft cards and ended up at the Nonviolence Institute by that time. But later, after my friend Roy Kepler told me Fariña was dead, I thought about what Fariña had said, often. When I was collecting draft cards I would tell the guy thinking about giving me his draft card to send to Lyndon that I could not do his five years in the joint and that I would be charged with another five years in the slammer for sending the card in--but that he should think about what he was saying he wanted to do...that I myself made the decision each day to keep on keepin' on doing this thing or to vanish into the surfing breaks, not running, but certainly strolling.

I just read a book review about Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me on the fricking internet that said the book was, among other things, amateurish, etc. I won't name names because I didn't catch the jackass's name, and Fariña will still be relevant long after these critics have nothing but time on their hands in infinity.

From: R. Joel Cohen
12 January 2009
About October of 1965 I took a trip to Boston with my roommate, and stopped for lunch at a tiny bistro called the Blue Unicorn, that happened to catch our eyes. Inside there were about seven or eight tables and just a few other customers beside ourselves. To our surprise there was entertainment-- Richard and Mimi came out and sang for about twenty minutes or so, accompanied on their guitar and dulcimer.

When through eating, we departed, finding Richard and Mimi enjoying a break in front. We struck up a friendly conversation with them. Richard explained, to the best of my memory, that he had written something that was going to be published or performed, for which they were shortly going up to NYC. I remember how optimistic and happy they both were, obviously much in love. We were all quite young with high hopes for our futures, and Richard and Mimi's looked so very bright.

My spiritual mentor had once told me: "man proposes, God disposes." I was very sad to learn, sometime later, that Richard had died in a motorcycle accident. My heart went out to Mimi, whom I knew must have been devastated. I sincerely hope that she found happiness in her later marriage.

They're both together now. May peace be ever with them.

From: Rainer
3 January 2009
Thanks for this site, evoking such dreamlike memories of these great musicians. I heard them on record the first time in Germany 1968 and immediately fell for them. And memories of a love and lover in Heidelberg. Wow, 40 years, and being with the Fariñas again. And my long gone love!

From: Rubia Balbi
7 April 2008
I'm a 25-year-old Brazilian girl and as a Baez fan I found out about Mimi and the organization she founded, Bread and Roses, this year. Her voice enchanted me at first, then her heart. I got upset when I found out she had died so early. However, the fact that her ideas will be always alive comforts me. Unfortunately, here in Brazil, especially in Manaus, Amazonas, most people don't know her nor even Joan. Besides me, I don't know anyone who has ever heard about them. I try to introduce their music, voices and their work as citizens of the world and freedom to my mates. Thank you for providing more information about Mimi and Richard on this site.
Rubia Balbi - Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil

From: Alexander Randall 5th
4 June 2007
I adored Richard and Mimi. Dopico was the theme music of my radio show for years. As an undergraduate at Princeton in the 1970's, I ran a music production enterprise, matching musicians and forming bands. I owned a PA system and bands coalesced around my gear. The enterprise ran under the name of Louie Motherball Productions and I had that moniker written on the side of my VW Bus. My classmates thought that WAS my name and to this day, class notes include (Louie Motherball) after my real name. So many places, I drove that bus and folks would come up to me asking for Snow Comfort.
Richard's Dulcimer shimmered.
Alexander Randall 5th - AKA Louie Motherball.

From: John Conolley
12 May 2007
I'm glad I found your website. I'm a longtime fan. The songs of Richard Fariña reach a wild place in me that no other poet or songwriter... or artist of any kind... has ever reached.
John Conolley
Altamonte Springs, Fla.

From: Laurence Alpert
06 April 2007
Bold Marauder, The Swallow Song, Pack up your Sorrows, Dopico, Children of Darkness, Quiet Joys of Brotherhood. Need I say anymore about the greatness of Richard and Mimi Fariña. Only Sandy Denny and Nick Drake rival in importance to me musically. One highlight was seeing Sandy Denny do Quiet Joys of Brotherhood at Cornell Folk Festival around 1972/73 with apparently Mimi Farina in attendance at the show.
Laurence Alpert
Washington D.C.

From: Britt Brown
14 March 2007
I was touched by your website. One of those experiences on the internet that happens every so often. You seem a kindred spirit who noticed the people I noticed. Nice not to be alone. Quite revealing. Particularly the timeline. Many thanks.
Britt Brown
Portland, OR

From: Monique Cortez
2 July 2006
Thank you so much for putting this website together. At school I can finally show everyone who Mimi Farina is and what she's all about. Can't wait for more updates!

From: Jim Seal
4 January 2006
Greetings from England. Sometime during the early Seventies a friend of mine brought around a copy of Celebrations for a Grey Day for me to listen to. I had never heard the Fariñas before but was blown away by the beauty and inventiveness of the music. This album has always remained close to my heart and is my favourite out of all of Richard and Mimi's recordings.
I am going to try to get a copy of Mimi's Solo album, as I've never heard it and it also features one of my all-time musical heroes, Lowell Levinger. Very pleased to hear that these two got together and performed for so many people. Best wishes to all of the Richard and Mimi fans in the U.S. and I really hope that Take Heart gets a CD re-issue.
Jim Seal
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom

From: Doris Williams
10 August 2005
I am so grateful for finding this website. I just on a whim checked out the 3-CD Fariña set from the library and am absolutely entranced, amazed, delighted and enthralled by listening to their haunting, meaningful, fun, political and danceable music. I had heard "Pack up your Sorrows" at friend's jam sessions and now I know where it comes from! I am also mesmerized by "The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood". Making up my own dance to it. Viewed the photos of Mimi - absolutely breathtaking, beautiful girl, almost hauntingly beautiful, not really of this world. I regret missing them altogether, I was too young to hear about them. I was not into folk music at the time, and now at 44 I am discovering the rich treasure of American folk of the 60s. I am also a singer and play piano and love to dance!

From: BJK
12 July 2005
I recently read Richard Fariña's novel Been Down So Long... and was absolutely blown away by the complexity of the narrative. Fariña shifts from subjective to objective viewpoints with seamless ease and the variety of writing styles or "voices" present within the text is astonishing.

After finishing his novel, I read David Hajdu's Positively 4th Street and was equally impressed with Fariña as an unfiltered personality outside of the novel. Sure, he seems to have been a little overbearing and obnoxious at times. Still, I think it would be hard to argue that these traits aren't necessary and commonly present 'quirks' within truly inspired individuals who stop at nothing to achieve their goals.

The sheer amount of artistic output that this man created during his 20's is awe-inspiring. If only every person with creative inklings were to approach their art with such determination and inspiration. Fariña should be remembered for many years to come.

Finally, a word has to be said about this site and its creator:

This was an invaluable resource for myself - and no doubt many others - when delving into the life and work of Richard Fariña. Sites like these are truly a labor of love and without them I'm afraid that most people would be in the dark regarding important artistic figures that haven't always been given their due. Bravo!

The only suggestion that I have is concerning lyrics for Richard & Mimi Fariña's music. If I'm not mistaken, there are none featured here ... which is unfortunate as they are no doubt a major aspect of Fariña's literary career. Something to think about for the future perhaps.

In the meantime, keep up the good work!

REPLY: Regarding the lyrics, they are indeed a major aspect of his writing, but I have refrained from printing them because of copyright restrictions. I don't want to get busted! --Doug.

From: Carol Lynn McLean
26 March 2005
In my late teens in the late 60's I began buying the albums of Richard and Mimi that I had been hearing on the local "underground" (what FM was then called) radio station, and played them over and over amongst my otherwise solid rock and psychedelic collection. I thought they were way ahead of Dylan in the variety and content their style encompassed and I always think of "Morgan The Pirate" whenever Dylan comes up.

I was considerably envious of Mimi - her natural beauty, being involved in the arts, having a famous sister, and being one of the few women to perform now and then at the same place as Cipollina!

We are told not to look back, but when there is less and less of what we admire in front of us, there is little else to do. Whatever the downside of the Internet may be I am pleased to find it providing so many areas, like this site for the Fariñas, that make it effortless to once in a while call up a time that meant so much. - Lynn

From: Bernie Schwartz, Ph.D.
20 March 2005
I met Mimi once while working at Fred Segal's, a well known men's store in L.A. Many showbiz personalities passed through, everyone from Dylan to Steve McQueen. One day a couple came in and the young lady smiled so warmly at me that--well, as they say, it "made my day." I never spoke to either of them, but that smile stayed with me. A few days later I went to a folk club in L.A., The Ash Grove, to hear a group I had heard on the radio, Richard and Mimi Fariña. Lo and behold, it was the couple I'd seen at the store.

From that time on, I closely followed her personal and professional career. Several decades later, I was talking to an age-mate, and mentioned the folk groups I had seen at the Ash Grove, including Richard and Mimi. He then said the following to me:

"My father was a well known professor at Cornell (Uri Bronfenbrenner), and he had a passion for folk music and had a college club where many famous folksingers appeared. One night Richard and Mimi performed. And when I met her, the strangest thing happened: she smiled at me with so much warmth, that I have never forgotten it. And I followed her career from that time on."

I replied: "I think I know what you mean," and I told him my west coast version of his east coast story.

I can only wonder how many other people were touched by the warmth of Mimi's smile -

Bernie Schwartz

From: Leslie
19 March 2005
I'd like to thank Douglas Cooke for putting together this wonderful tribute to Richard and Mimi. This website is amazing and I can't wait to see what else will be added to it.
peace, Leslie

From: Janet Carmona
09 March 2005
Hello!! My name is Janet and I would just like to stop by and say "hi". I would also like to thank Douglas Cooke for putting together this wonderful website so that the memory and music of Richard and Mimi Fariña can stay alive forever!! "If somehow you can pack up your sorrows..."

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