3 CDs for the price of 2 on this overview of everything the cult duo recorded for Vanguard. Includes 7 previously unreleased tracks recorded at the Newport Folk Festivals
The younger sister of Joan, Mimi Baez married the youthful writer Richard Fariña in 1963. Together the couple went on to be one of the sensations of the 1965 Newport Folk Festival (nine performances from the latter are included in this set).
Listening to their Vanguard legacy, it's easy to see why. Mimi's accomplished guitar picking effortlessly entwined with Richard's revolutionary approach to mountain dulcimer playing. Their harmony singing was light and keening, yet intimate. In the same way that Dylan was by 1965 'beyond' folk, their playful, gentle and poetic songs precursed the hippie movement whose 'incense and peppermints' were just around the corner. Richard's novel "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me" was warmly received on its publication and remains a cult classic. He died in 1966 at the age of 29 in a motorcycle accident. Mimi went on to a solo career, appearing in the movie Festival At Big Sur with her sister Joan and recording a duet album Take Heart (A&M) with Tom Jans in 1971. Fifteen years later, she followed this up with the excellent Mimi Fari a Solo (Rounder). She died of cancer on 18 July 2001.
The Complete Vanguard Recordings captures the duo young and creative -- an attractive Bohemian pairing. It also contains all of Richard's recordings with the exception of three songs made for Elektra's "Singer-Songwriter Project" and a handful of collaborations cut with Eric Von Schmidt whilst the two were over in England. Of the Vanguard albums 'proper', it would be invidious to choose between Celebrations For A Grey Day and Reflections In A Crystal Wind-.-both are too programmatically faultless in their blend of the instrumental (Tuileries) and vocal (Pack Up Your Sorrows). The third album Memories was an afterthought. Released in 1968, it gathered together out-takes and unreleased material from the earlier sessions but contains many gems that expand on the previous work. The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood (with orchestral accompaniment) and two Joan Baez tracks that Richard produced for his sister-in-law are also included. For the current release, the two Newport songs that originally appeared as part of the 12" vinyl edition of - have been reintegrated into the 1965 Newport Folk Festival segment that closes out the final CD.