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Newport Folk Festival 1965
The earliest festivals were practically academic seminars, featuring musicians fetched from forests, front porches, five-dollars-a-night tin-roofed Mississippi barrel-houses, lefties found wandering the vast cement canyons of NYC, bluegrassers rescued from country music oblivion and tourbuses packed to the roof with ethnic singers and dancers. Folk music in the fifties and earliest sixties was considered a noncommercial side-railing (if not a derailing) best left to politicos, beatniks and overly-earnest undergrads. To consider it an area ripe for commercial plunder would have been unthinkable.
The 1959 Newport program featured seven ads : a polite mix of record companies ("Elektra Records - The home of superlative folk music"), guitar makers, and the first of a lengthy and traditional run of local suds makers (Narragansett Beer was first). In that year, if the advertising is any clue, there was little interest in folk music outside of three record companies (Elektra, Vanguard & Tradition), two instrument manufacturers (Goya and Vega), Izzy Young (at the Folklore Center), Narragansett Beer and the people reading the program.
By 1965, folk was an indefinable quantity capable of having its day on television, the press, and even Top Ten radio - the audience had been pinpointed as a commercial entity in the embryonic days of demographics and folk music had been claimed as a marketable commodity at its peak. Though Peter, Paul & Mary would take out a full page ad in that year's program thanking Pete Seeger "for all the things he's done for folk music," most interest would focus on Bob Dylan's two page allegorical story, and Times columnist Robert Shelton's essay advising the folk world to open their eyes to the music around them, be it rock, pop, folk, slop -- anything with notes; things were moving.
Forty ads dressed up the 64 pages of that year's program, with everything and everyone from managers (six) showcasing their now extensive stables, record companies (five) including Columbia records ("The sound of folk music"), and Verve ("Great names in records are now the name in folk music") flogging their contact with the soil, music publishers looking for fodder, American Airlines taking a full page (for all you musicians on the run) and Ford Mustang parked the inside of the front cover. Though there were nine guitar ads (including España Guitars, "Sweden's finest!"), the Goya one now featured the non-ethnically-pure Julie Andrews in a plug for "Sound of Music".
The times they were a-changin'.
Newport Folk Festival --
What it is and how it got that way
Newport Folk Festival is the "income-producing event" for the Newport Folk Foundation.
In word and indeed.
Originally created as a commercial concern in 1958 by George Wein and his business partner, Albert Grossman, beating it into a workable shape took almost a year, though by 1959, the Newport Folk Festival was ready for action. Concerts were to be held within the city limits at Newport's Freebody Park, with workshops cluttering the grounds of what was then known as The Casino (in name only -- it was a lawn tennis court, and now home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame) -- it was spread over two days (July 11th and 12th), and was the year Bob Gibson brought up the eager-to-perform Cambridge amateur, Joan Baez, during his set. With a roster of about 28 performers, it closed the weekend in a meteorological soaking as well as a financial one -- the only people enriched were the fans. Unusually for the time, recording rights to the whole festival were put up for bids, with the high-bidder, Vanguard Recording Society, producing three LPs to document the event, which, while never topping the charts, never lost money either, though when combined, the sales of the first three probably rocketed into the low double-digits.
The Festival's 1960 return to Freebody Park (a Victorian park completed in 1897 to allow for the playing of baseball, and quickly modified with an open-air Vaudeville theatre in 1902), was upped to three fun-filled days and nights, running from June 24th through the 26th. This time around, the festival featured about 32 performers (with Baez not only an invited performer, but also the only performer to be given two consecutive evening concert spots) and produced two LPs from Vanguard. One of refreshing signs of the times was that Vanguard had won the recording rights not only by a show of cash, but also by showing a good set of manners -- according to Sing Out! , their agreement allowed other companies to use and issue any taped performances not used by Vanguard on their LPs (company president Maynard Solomon's bid having been accepted when his main rival had suggested a willingness to "bury" any unused tapes). As a result, Elektra released its own LP (in "Panoramic Stereo") in what was probably an ill-conceived plan to duplicate Vanguard's rocketing sales on their Newport releases. A grumpy Moe Asch of Folkways records decides the other labels are sticking to those he terms "the crowd pleasers", and so he opts to issue two LPs of what he considers the more traditional performers from the 1959-60 festivals. Though that year the sun shone brightly all across this great, wide festival, Wein and Grossman took another bath, which -- following riots that year by overzealous louts at their now heavily-commercialized Jazz Festival -- bankrupted their corporation, and temporarily ended both festivals.
Though Grossman shortly was to strike out on his own, following his interests in the popular scene (and folk music at the time was the popular scene), jazz-fan Wein gradually returned to his Jazz Festival. In 1962, largely through the efforts of Pete Seeger and Theodore Bikel, Wein agreed to restart the folk festival, albeit this time as an intentionally nonprofit affair, to be run by the newly formed Newport Folk Foundation. Again according to Sing Out's article the Foundation was to have two functions : " First, to present folk music in a situation free of the usual economic necessities, and second, to help preserve the traditions upon which the current revival are based". In other words, to water the plant without rotting the roots - promoting a folk music balanced between big names and home grown talent without one burying the other and without anyone going broke again. They intended to plow the profits back into rescuing America's folk traditions : performers, regardless of commercial stature, were to be paid $50 a day (although Bikel says in his autobiography that it was $54), plus transportation, food and lodging ( many of the bigger names handed back their pay and paid their own expenses). The money earned by the festival would go not only to paying to produce the festival, but also to research, to grants and donations to fund and encourage local folk music activities nationwide, and occasionally for something with immediate results, like buying a guitar for Mississippi John Hurt.
The 1963 Newport Folk Festival (July 26th-28th) was now spread between evening concerts at Freebody Park and all-day workshops held in small grass fields behind the buildings at St. Michael's School, just a bit down Memorial Blvd. from Freebody Park. Featuring over 100 performers in a dazzling crisscrossing of 21 workshops and three evening concerts, the Friday night concert featured not only the first appearance of my 9th grade Latin teacher's daughter, Raun MacKinnon, but also the first festival appearance of Bob Dylan (and both again at the Saturday morning Ballad Workshop). Vanguard issued six LPs, including thematically-arranged anthologies from the workshops - topical songs, blues, country music and bluegrass were added to two collections from the evening performances. Per the same Sing Out! article (as are all stats to follow) about 45,000 people had attended, earning net profits of $52,000. A splendid time was guaranteed for all - before, during and after.
By 1964, folk music -- originally thought to be a pure alternative to a rock music dulled by corporations and tainted by payola - a soulless, dishonest music responded to by amateurs playing their own instruments and making their own joyful noise - was no longer seen as anti-commercial, or even noncommercial, by audience and performers alike. The performers had become aware that, instead of just being a better gig than the saltmines, they could actually make a living at being a Folk Musician, a rippling roar not totally unheard by record companies and instrument makers. 1964 would be the year the older, more traditional musicians sensed the dreaded heat of Ambition sparking more fires than the passion for enthnomusical purity and unbroken traditions among the hunter-gatherers, though it was also the year they proudly saw social justice and politics take a front seat, albeit in a Corvette.
The '64 Festival was held in Freebody Park and St. Michael's again, from July 23rd to the 26th. Dylan was back, way over 100 performers wandered between the 13 workshops and 6 concerts, and the curiously commercial concept of Headliners came into play at a festival where all performers had previously been equal. Expenses doubled, with the artists' costs ballooning to over double, and net profits dropping to $27,000, but attendance rising to 64,000. Vanguard womped out seven albums -- two blues, two traditional, and three evening concerts. And yet. Though nobody knew why exactly, things seemed to be turning into that which Monty Python later described as something that's "brown and sounds like a bell."
But for this web site, we can zoom in on the fact that Joan Baez canaried her cadenzas at four different times spread over two days, three workshops, and one concert -- and somewhere in the process, she premiered "Birmingham Sunday", an understated ballad about the previous year's racially motivated Birmingham, Alabama church bombing that resulted in the deaths of four African-American girls (and only after almost 40 years, is a trial set that might reach a conviction). The song came with a melody borrowed (as was a well criticized norm during the era of the Folk Revival, though an honorable, traditional folk norm most other eras), from - among others - "The Trees They Grow High", and/or the old Scottish "I Once Loved A Lass" - but words inventively written by Joan's brother-in-law, Richard Fariña, who was driving cross-country with his friend Alfredo Dopico. Mimi, on the other hand, was keeping her sister Joan company at the festival (in the 1966 documentary Festival Joan is shown at St. Michael's School grounds, fighting off a friendly mob of autograph seekers , when she looks off to her right and asks , "Hey, is my sister okay? She's very little...") .
The 1965 Newport Folk Festival was Folk Judgment Day : almost anybody who'd been somebody prior to then was about to sink peacefully beneath the waves of popular music, (now blessed with what was labeled, and co-opted as "folk-rock"), or return to the smell of roasting careers on the small club circuit; anybody who was able to surf the wave was about to change their swimsuit in motion; a very few were about to not only hang-ten and walk the board, they were about to ride it halfway up the beach.
But the festival would never recover.
The 1965 Festival brochure that year promised "4 Evening concerts," along with workshops and panels, with the whole weekend yours for about $30, assuming you made the rounds of workshops ( $2 got you into the entire day's workshops ), hit both the morning and afternoon concerts on Sunday (@ $2 each) and got the expensive ($5.50) boxed seats at the evening concerts. You had access to 26 workshops, 4 evening concerts (as promised), and on Sunday, one morning concert, and one afternoon concert (plus the evening's concert). You could watch Joan Baez , still blanched from the Dylan tour filmed for the Don't Look Back documentary, and not eager to renew his personal society, so instead, pop up on stage with Donovan. You could watch Bob Dylan shock and stun the people in his audience, who, though His True-Blue Best Fans, were still able to pretend they hadn't bought his last album, nor listened to Top Ten radio, nor read anything in the press for the past year, when he told his contemporaries on Sunday night that following your own muse was allowed. And you could see Dick and Mimi Fariña ride out three miles of bad beach and leave their audience both drained and filled. For once, the audience got soaked, and would have gladly paid to do it again.
Attendance rose to 71,000, but artists' costs hit the $65,000 mark, administrative costs at $40,000 matching the amount the Foundation was to give away in grants and donations. While total income had almost doubled since 1963, to $267,000, expenses had almost tripled, and net profit, at $23,000, fell to less than half. Vanguard finally gave up the ghost on their LP project, issuing one album, promising more, but shutting down operations before it was too late.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....
Dick and Mimi - where they were, how they got there, and what they did for three days......
According to Hajdu, the Fariñas "rented half of one floor in a two-story row house on Putnam Avenue" in late fall of 1964, and were centered there (as they would be next year, same time) making club appearances around the east coast through summer. Their first album, Celebrations For A Gray Day, had been recorded in late fall, but would not be released on Vanguard until April, '65, though for most folk acts (and rock acts at the time), album sales were good for grocery money and buying that surprise bicycle for your uncle, but the real money was in touring. And since the majority of folk clubs at the time crowded the northeast, almost any major city from Philadelphia to Boston was only two or three hours from everywhere else, the whole east coast was folk central. And since most folk clubs booked single nights, two weekend nights (Friday and Saturday), or the rare week, living in any city practically made it a commuter job. By the end of March, Random House would be accepting Dick's novel, and the Fariñas temporarily relocated to their buddy, Judy Collins', Upper West Side apartment, while Dick dulcimered away at two tunes for her forthcoming LP ( the Fariñas' "Pack Up Your Sorrows" and Gil Turner's "Carry It On") and possibly writing the liner notes for what was to be released that summer as Judy Collins' Fifth Album.
At the end of April, the Fariñas and Dick's friend Alfredo Dopico joined the recently arrived Joan Baez and her friend, Barb Warmer, for an early birthday trip to Bearsville, NY, the home of Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman , with the Fariñas staying in a small room above the town's Cafe Espresso, according to Hajdu. Dylan and his friend Victor Maimudes were there to join the fun when a birthday celebration for Mimi was held downstairs at the Cafe, although the fun was run through a bad translation into what was exclusively trademarked as Dylan's kind of fun -- looking for weak spots in people and then mining them with a blow-torch, first heating up Alfredo, then Joan, resulting in a sobbing Joan, angry Fariña, and an uncommonly livid Mimi who, contrary to her pacifist personality, laid physical siege to Dylan to the point of tears (his) and made damned sure he'd think twice before indulging in any more sporting events with her big sister again.
The Fariñas returned to touring through late spring and early summer, including a June 2 appearance at the New Gate of Cleve in Toronto where they played to an audience of six. The reviewer remarked that they'd gamely made the best of it, and though the songs were good, their act was nonexistent, their demeanor too quiet. Surely, the first and last those words would ever be applied to Dick Fariña.
July 5th, they were back home in Cambridge for their usual Monday night monthly appearance.
Somewhere during this time, the Newport Folk Foundation's board of directors were having a series of meetings to plan for that summer's Newport Folk Festival. The directors that year were
- Theodore Bikel - actor and folksinger
- Ronnie Gilbert - late of the Weavers, now solo
- Alan Lomax - singer, author, folk music collector, who, along with his father John, was largely responsible for the Archive of Folksong in the Library of Congress
- Ralph Rinzler - Greenbriar Boy and the Foundation's main traditional folk music talent scout)
- Mike Seeger - New Lost City Rambler, folk collector and instrumentalist, son of ethnomusicologist Charles, brother of Peggy, and half-brother of Pete
- Pete Seeger - !
- Peter Yarrow - He of ... Paul & Mary
Together, the board had the sole responsibility to choose who was to come, what workshops would be created, what performers would fill those workshops, and some were even involved in the actual producing of the evening concerts. According to Robert L. Jones, former performer of "haunting Guthrie ballads" and m.c. of the Club 47 Sunday hoots and now a top officer at the Newport Folk Foundation, the question of who chose the talent is a complex one: " When one says 'who chose the talent?', there was nobody who said 'I wanna have this guy' -- it was all mutually decided upon at two or three of the meetings". Traditional music, "primarily music that was not found by picking up a phone or hearing about it from some agent" was brought in by Ralph Rinzler, who was funded by the Foundation to make field recording trips, which oftentimes resulted in tapes being brought back and played for the Board. Jones says judgments on these tapes would be made based on "whether we thought that this could be dovetailed into a very strong, popular kind of audience, an audience that was ready to listen to popular things as well as traditional things. Some people probably would not have been able to handle it." The Board, he says, was also aware of the contemporary folk scene, and as performers " were constantly aware of other people in the field, whether they'd be popular or in some instances, the traddies. But generally people knew of other people. Later on there was some instance of when it was important for us to balance out a program with enough popular people to pay for the event..."
Board member Peter Yarrow, the youngest member of the board, loved traditional music and had been a heavy promoter of folk music since teaching English 355-356 ("which was a class in folk music and folk ballads under Dr. Harold Thompson") in his student days at Cornell (where he'd known fellow student, Richard Fariña, "but only in passing -- I met him later in the context of his writing"). But Yarrow was concerned about the contemporary folk scene." At a certain point , I told the board that I didn't think it was appropriate for the people like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, and Peter, Paul &Mary to draw these huge crowds and not acknowledge the new urban singers that were coming up through the ranks." His unhappiness that " the emphasis was on traditional music and the people who would draw the crowds -- namely Joan Baez, Peter, Paul & Mary, Bob Dylan, etc." at the expense of the thriving younger scene was accompanied by a suggestion "that my continued involvement with the board was contingent upon -- not taking anything away from the evening concerts -- but letting me organize and book a concert and then host it and run it, for the new folks...." Out of his concern was born the Sunday afternoon concert known, with good reason, as "New Folks" (renamed "New Directions" in 1966).
There have been many theories over the years about how the Fariñas were invited to perform at the 1965 festival. Some say it had to have been Joan Baez putting the squeeze on the Board. Some say Albert Grossman, Dick and Mimi's eventual manager, used his connections to pull it off. Others say it was Dick himself , or his reputation as a songwriter. " Oh, I don't know," admits Yarrow, " You know, I might have heard a song here or remembered them from somewhere. It might have been because I knew Dick before that, or from knowing Joan Baez. And I had known Mimi for years because of Joan". The suggestion that Dick had sent emissaries to lobby for him was laughable to Yarrow : " You didn't have to promote Dick Fariña, man, he was a promoter! He was a mover, he did things, he got things done! He was an organizer! You didn't have to promote him: that was one of the things I liked about him -- he was going places. And Mimi was so beautiful. People were curious about them, they wanted to know about them." But without a specific memory from the member most likely to know the Fariñas' work and put them forth for inclusion, we're left to theorize --
Joan Baez certainly had the clout to put forth the Fariñas, and Dick wasn't shy about humbly letting her do it for them. There is no reason she wouldn't have, unless she thought there was a good chance they'd get the nod even without her. On the other hand, Robert Jones says the board wasn't necessarily susceptible to outside pressure, that the schedules were made up from ingredients blended to give the concerts an even flow, and that the Board certainly would have know of Dick and Mimi, though they also would have known a number of other promising new acts.
In an interview in Hajdu's book, Mimi states she assumed that Albert Grossman had managed to finagle them an invite to the New Folks concert on Sunday afternoon. As I explained above though, acts were never invited for one thing -- they were invited, and then the board set about putting them into slots. Robert Jones testifies that " the only people ever brought in [just] for workshops... would have been later on when we brought in a lot of crafts people." With the Fariñas, it would be logical to assume at least a few members of the board were familiar with them as an act (Yarrow and Bikel were notably tuned to the contemporary scene), and probably also with both their individual talents -- so the Saturday Contemporary Song Workshop would be a logical spot because they were certainly Contemporary, and also because that was another of Yarrow's projects -- and Yarrow always put full effort into showcasing the contemporary scene. Though not all workshops repeated from year to year, I'm sure with the addition of the Fariñas, Jean Ritchie's 1964 Autoharp and Dulcimer Workshop (co-hosted by Mike Seeger), shortened by an autoharp, an hour or so and quite a few performers would have made another logical addition to the schedule. The Sunday afternoon New Folks would have been another logical placement -- because not only they were perfectly suited to the requirements Yarrow had outlined, but because again, it was Yarrow's concert to book. As for Grossman, he didn't actually represent the Fariñas until just before the Festival. Grossman had looked over their contract with Vanguard at Dick's behest, in what was probably a preliminary flirtation by both, but I think Grossman would have enough to keep him busy pushing his own stable if any pushing was going to be done. Had Grossman been doing their bookings prior to that point, instead of Greenhill, Mimi (who only found out about the Grossman contract the first day of the festival) should have been more surprised by the earlier handshake with Greenhill than Grossman's wet ink on the program ad. So I don't think Grossman had much to do with their invitation to perform.
My theory is that the Fariñas made it on their own steam, but I think it was done with a powerful assist from Peter Yarrow. Peter recognized not only talent, but also who and what would make a good mix at the festival. Fariña was a known entity on his own; Mimi had long been a favorite with the insiders of the folk crowd. With the commotion over "Birmingham Sunday" at the '64 festival, people would have been naturally curious, as Yarrow pointed out, about what the couple was up to. They made a gorgeous couple, and that certainly would have made their faces and image known, followed by a natural curiosity about that meant. Their album that spring would have been a good inducement (I think it was John Hammond Jr. who pointed out that when it came to the festival, "An album was your ticket" for a new act). With his knack for self-promotion, if Dick couldn't get himself target-marketed to the board, nobody could have. Yarrow's knack for mixing would have been especially evident at the dulcimer workshop -- while renown as one of the nicest people in folk music, Jean Ritchie was a strict traditionalist, more at home with Chet Parker, Howie Mitchell or Frank Proffitt than with any non-relative under the age of 40, but she was quick to realize the Fariñas could be as much benefit to her as she to them. And I think this would be the best testament to Peter Yarrow's skill at and love for folk music. The idea was that the audience grow.
The Festival put people up at the Hotel Viking in Newport. We may assume that Dick and Mimi arrived sometime on Thursday, with Joan Baez and both Baez parents, Joan, Sr. and Albert. The festival grounds didn't open until before the scheduled eight o'clock concert, which, though it didn't feature the Fariñas or Baez, did feature Donovan, described by some that year as Joan's protégé, and I'm sure all would have wanted to attend. Beyond that safe and handy supposition, nothing else is known.
1965 was the year the Festival moved to Festival Field, several miles out of Newport's city limits, enabling an enlarging of both the area and the amount going on within it. It was now on a large field just out of the center of town, with the workshops scattered around it. The field had actually been used for drying fishing nets. They used an idea Peter Seeger had had, according to Robert Jones, "which was to have them primarily all acoustic. In other words, a workshop would be done with as many people as could hear it, and then there'd be another [workshop]... maybe one or two had amplification. It was more after the style of the festivals in Europe, England, and Ireland. The workshop areas were small and there were many, many more. Some of them were made into little mini stages where they actually had platforms and some of them were done right on the main stage."
The Fariñas weren't scheduled for anything that day, but had plenty of friends who were, and plenty of friends who weren't but would be good company watching the ones who performed.
The grounds opened somewhere around 10:00 or so, or at least the snow fence-surrounded park probably admitted paying customers about that time. The workshops started at 11:00, and you could take your pick of the String Band (with the Cambridge favorite, Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band, featuring Fariña pals Geoff & Maria Muldaur and musical cohort, Fritz Richmond), Broadside : Past & Present (with Donovan and Baez and Fariña friend, Mark Spoelstra), Blues Guitar (with Son House and Mississippi John Hurt, who no one breathing would have missed), Ballad Swapping ( an all-day confab featuring, somewhere in its six-hour running time, Joan), and Negro Group Singing & Rhythmic Patterns (with Fariña favorites, the Chambers Brothers). So there was ample reason for them to go to any or all. The sun was bright (it would cloud up as the day grew longer), there was Narragansett Beer in paper cups and a lot of dirt to sit on. The Gahr book documents the encounters of Ian & Sylvia (wandering off from the Ballad Swapping Workshop in the Ballad Tree area) with Donovan (Broadside, Area 2) and Gordon Lightfoot, who'd make his first major American appearance shortly (just wandering).
Dick and Mimi dressed casually in striped pullovers (hers long-sleeved, his short) and jeans, Dick wearing Official Folksinger issue Ray-Bans, dirty Keds boating sneakers without socks and Mimi in flip-flops. (The Gahr photo used for both the backs of the "Memories" LP and the posthumous Long Time Coming was taken later in the afternoon of this day.) Indeed, if you look at all the published photos of the Fariñas, you will find Mimi generally wearing one of three or four dresses, and Dick usually in his striped tank top, a black turtle neck, or this striped surfer shirt. Whether it was a look, or a limited budget...
Dick and Mimi are recorded sitting on the ground, giving someone or something the hard stare and standing by the snow-fence, with Dick grinning as Mimi cocks a leg and throws her arms out; by about midday, Dick was indeed hitting the Narragansett booth with the ubiquitous Donovan, Paul Butterfield and the not-scheduled David Blue (still David Cohen at that point, and later that year to be joining Dick on Elektra's Singer-Songwriter Project album). The beer may have something to do with the fact that very shortly after they both arrived on the grounds, a friend of Dick's dashed up with a copy of that year's program in his hands and asked a naively incredulous question -- what does Albert Grossman's ad mean by saying you two are being handled by his office? Knowing they'd very recently made a handshake agreement with Manny Greenhill (of Folklore Productions), who was also Joan's manager, and who, I believe, had been doing some of their booking prior to this, Mimi could have rightly assumed Folklore Productions' ad might have listed them, but Grossman was news to her. Could it be our boy's done something rash? Grossman had a reputation as a hard businessman, but also as one who looked after his clients and had no qualms about getting them the money they deserved. (While many thought folk music was supposed to be an anti-commercial, non-show biz avocation, the younger singers were looking, as Yarrow explained, "to be able to devote themselves to it and make a living from it." Geoff Muldaur was part of Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band at the time, who'd been in the stable of Folklore Productions acts for a while, but they'd defected to Grossman. "Manny wasn't doing a great job ... We didn't just want to be regional... It was a little too loose. I think he thought of us as a bunch of kids having a good time. He was a great guy, but we were ambitious, " said Muldaur, " And we wanted Big Albert.") The Fariñas worked their jaw muscles, clenched their teeth and didn't start the best day of their lives.
The late afternoon had a promise of something new on the grounds. At 3:30 in the Bluesville staging area, there was a Blues: Origins and Offshoots workshop scheduled. Hosted by board member and arch-traditionalist, Alan Lomax, it was to feature Son House, Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon, Mance Lipscomb, Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys, Josh White and Sam & Kirk McGee. But the real name everyone had come to see was the previous night's openers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. The band was from Chicago, and mixed race (uncommon for the time), playing electric blues, with Butterfield fronting on vocals and harmonica, two lead guitarists -- Elvin Bishop and Michael Bloomfield -- Sam Lay on drums and Jerome Arnold on bass. Together, they made a mighty noise. While electric blues had been common to the Jazz Festival, the folk festival had not yet fully plugged in. ( Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry had played the jazz festival, as had Muddy Waters, who'd even recorded and released an album in 1960, Muddy Waters Live At Newport -- albeit the cover showed him standing by the stage with John Lee Hooker's archtop acoustic in his hands -- handed to him by the photographer while Muddy's own blond Telecaster was waiting for him up on stage.) Lomax had never altered his view of who could -- and who couldn't -- play blues. " My guess, " recalled Robert Jones, " is that he probably said something to the effect of, ' well, here's some simple white people that probably [think] they can play the blues' -- it was probably a comment about that, knowing Alan -- he's a very hard view -- still probably does have a hard view --of what white people can play and what black people can play as far as the blues goes." In short, Lomax had introduced a highly talented and professional Chicago blues band with one Elektra LP to their credit as essentially a bunch of shallow white boys who had no business playing the black man's music, much less plugging it in. Obviously he must have also had issues with the white John Hammond Jr. playing them unplugged, and must have studiously avoided the 1960 Jazz Festival -- but when you combined white boys, the blues and Reddy Kilowatt, Lomax had had enough. No sooner had Lomax stepped off the stage than the band's prospective manager, the burly Albert Grossman, basically asked him what the hell kind of introduction was that? Words were exchanged and the next thing fight fans saw was two grown men rolling around and slugging it out on the ground. The even larger Sam Lay hopped off the stage to break it up, but the crowd was going wild. They were primed for Butterfield's assault on their ears. Supposedly, a huge number of people were there to hear what would happen, the word having spread from the night before, and expectations being high. The Fariñas stood stage right at the back of the crowd, in a line of slack-jawed, boogying Cambridge folkies, including Von Schmidt, Mitch Greenhill, Owen DeLong, Geoff and Maria Muldaur and honorary New Englander, Spider John Koerner. Mimi later said that seeing the Butterfield Blues Band at the festival had a very solid effect on the way she and Dick were growing musically -- louder, wider instrumentation, and "words that said things that we wanted to relate to."
Neither Dick and Mimi, nor Joan, nor Donovan was on that night's concert, set for the main stage two and a half hours later. It's likely everyone went, saw, and after a slight detour for roistering, went back to the Viking. For some more roistering and playing. And then to sleep. Some of them, anyway.
Saturday, 7/ 24
Contemporary Song Workshop
Saturday started a little earlier for the Fariñas than Friday, but it started out sunny, just the same. Work for them started pronto at the 11:00-1:30 Contemporary Song Workshop -- scheduled by Peter Yarrow and hosted by Yarrow and fellow board-member, Ronnie Gilbert, this also featured Ian & Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, Patrick Sky, Donovan, Eric Von Schmidt, and Bob Dylan. Set in Area 2, this was another field that sloped down towards the tiny wooden stage set back against the snow fences, next to Area 1, where the International Song workshop was going on, and next to the road that led back to the main stage area, where at that point, the Children's Concert was taking place. At a great many, if not all, of the workshops, informality was the way to go, and most of the performers spent their time, when not on the stage, sitting in front of it. Joan Baez sat stage right with Donovan, ready to watch her sister & Dick's first performance as well as a show of support for Donovan at his second performance. Although no stage photos have ever been published of the Fariñas performing, we have the odd David Gahr crowd photos, including one featuring Dick's eyebrows and widow's peak, as well as a photo of Mimi baby sitting behind the stage for one of the smaller Von Schmidts, who's curled up in bright sun inside a guitar case, carefully not sitting on her father's second solo LP (with liner notes by Fariña). Dick, normally in dry-cleaned jeans and a dark turtle neck, chose to wear his dirty Keds, faded green Levis and an orange t-shirt, while Mimi wore the same patterned dress as she had earlier that spring, posing for the yet-to-be-recorded Reflections In a Crystal Wind LP cover, and generally going barefoot.
Since the workshop was 2 1/2 hours long and there were 7 performers, it's fair to guess everyone would get about 15 minutes. It should be noted here that no folk festival ever runs on time unless by coincidence or the law. The Fariñas actually got about 16 minutes.
Seated on the festival's rented folding chairs and accompanied by themselves on Mimi's acoustic guitar and Dick's dulcimer, they were amplified by a single microphone for each. Judging by the extant photos of others at this site, coupled with Seeger's theory of acoustics and backed up by the low-budget of the festival, nobody seems to have had their instruments miked -- the mikes were expected to pick up the voice and the instrument and feed this not only to the back row of the audience, probably half a football field away, but to the little Vanguard recording van that rolled tapes on everything. They started with a version of One-Way Ticket, a fast rocker from their 1st album later released as a single, then followed with Sell -Out Agitation Waltz, an as-yet unrecorded song, due to be recorded in fall for their second album. Following a quick suggestion of "Pack Up Your Sorrows in B?", Dick comments "That was good." Possibly figuring they'd hit their allotted 15 minutes ( though it was only 12), they launch into what was usually their closing number, Pack Up Your Sorrows (also from the 1st album, and also released as a single), helped out by Yarrow; Dick coaxes the crowd to sing along on the chorus : "It doesn't do you any good just sitting there and looking at us, try singing it once, loud as you can," and then again next time round : "We're gonna just do this one more time -- this is the biggest afternoon crowd we've had at Newport and you can make a whole lot of noise - let them hear you over at the Children's Concert!" Then near the end Dick again coaxes the audience to sing along "One last time!" with the lie put to that one chorus later when he asks for " One last time AGAIN!" With the crowd seemingly enjoying themselves, they're green-lighted for another song. Dick again leans to Mimi and says "Do House Un-American Activity?" And though the time is limited, after tuning for a minute, Dick will launch into a minute and forty-five second shaggy dog story as a preface and burn away two and a half minutes. No complaints are filed.
"We know a guy named Milt Kamen -- it's not the same man as the comedian - who, about a year and a half ago, during the election year, got all the presidential candidates mixed up. He found them all looking alike, talking alike, singing the same songs -- and so he went to Cuba to get away from it. And how he did that is he went to Yugoslavia. Cuz if you can't get there from here, you've got to go there to get here from there, to get there. And when he was in Cuba, of course, the House Un-American Activities Committee got in touch with him -- they said they were having a thing in Washington and we want you there -- baby! And so he went [Mimi subtly hints by playing the opening notes at this point, but Dick plows on - ] and while he was on the stand - you probably read about this in the paper -- a fellow jumped out of the gallery, was wearing a Nazi armband - George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party. Actually, he's wearing a Harris tweed jacket and he tore the jacket off and instead of -- instead of that little "S" and the triangle, turned out to be a different kind of Superman. And he grabbed this guy off the stand and strangled him. He didn't kill him, he just strangled him enough so that when he's in the hospital, the court got him for contempt. And that's a true story, and it's in this song. I dreamed a part of , made the rest up. It's called House Un-American Blues Activity Dream - " and they finally get past the first 13 notes and are rewarded in the end by thunderous applause and cries for "more!" They thank everyone, get up, wave, and do a slow float off the stage, having their first 15 minutes of fame nicely delivered unto their feet.
Saturday, 7/ 24
Though their next performance was not until an hour and a half later, at the Dulcimer Workshop, word had spread about their earlier performance. The workshop, staged on a pallet on the ground in front of the main stage, was hosted by Jean Ritchie, probably the most accomplished dulcimer player in the US (which meant the world) and also featured Beth Van Over (who according to the program was from Kentucky, was a year older than Dick, and was somehow related to both Jean Ritchie and Dock Boggs, which is excellent company). The Dulcimer Workshop was the second generation of the previous year's Autoharp and Dulcimer Workshop. It is unlikely that Ritchie had never heard of the Fariñas, as traditional music was her life and she seems to have at least made it a point to know about any dulcimer music being made. Somewhere she's recalled arriving at what she thought was just a small workshop for a very plain and simple folk instrument -- and finding the audience full and packed in front of the boxed seats on the lawn, all the way up to the foot of their ad-hoc stage, which she thought highly unusual, and then she recognized Dick and Mimi waiting, and quickly did the math. I'm sure she was somewhat cautious and curious about what (and how) these people were going to play, but glad to have the larger audience and attention to anyone playing her instrument.
The workshop was a short one, only lasting an hour, from 3:00 to 4:00, giving each performer twenty minutes, tops. Ritchie more than likely went first, Van Over second, and the Fariñas last, as evidenced by the Vanguard disc. With two out of three performers backgrounds suggesting traditional playing techniques and songs, Dick and Mimi were the wild cards in more ways than one.
Wooden folding chairs had been set up across a narrow stage, with Dick in his Ray-Bans on stage right, a Narragansett parked under his chair, and Mimi in large, round black shades, on the left. The pallet stage was backed up against the front of the stage, so that stepping off the back of the pallet placed you under the main stage. To stage right, seated on the ground, was Joan. More unusually, behind Joan were both of her parents, and behind them sat Debbie Green, who was not only a singer in her own right, but had been Joan's best college buddy in her brief time at Boston U. (It's not known if Dick's parents came to see him here -- though both were nearby and living in New York City. They weren't known, or at least recorded, as popping up anywhere, anytime, though both doted on their son, so if any scenario works here, it would be that they weren't there because they didn't know about it.)
The sky was bright, but getting overcast when they took their seats on the stage and started out with Bold Marauder, another new song headed for their unrecorded 2nd album, a beautiful melody with a particularly effecting lyric specifically about the KKK, but denouncing bloodlust in all its forms (fitting in vaguely with the protest song genre, though set far above what Maria Muldaur nicely termed the typical "unmusical political complaining" of the day). At the end of this one, Dick asks Mimi, "Do the other one? Hard Lovin' Loser?", which under the circumstances could mean he might have intended to do it with just the two of them. In what sounds like it might be an aside about a soundperson's query on activating one or the other of the extra stage mikes, Mimi leans in and says to Dick, "... he says it's one of the guys we're playin' with." "Which?" Dick wants to know. "The guitar", she says - " Both of them, yeah", and then Dick announces a sneak attack. He brings out backup musicians , in the form of his buddy and pretty much the session player for the entire folk revival, guitarist and percussionist, Bruce Langhorne ("He's the Tambourine King," says Fariña on the recording, "Lest you forget!"). Also arriving was Al Kooper, guitarist, former member of the Royal Teens, instant organ player for Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home and soon to be the starting member of The Blues Project. (It should be noted here that the notes to Vanguard's Complete Recordings set is slightly wrong about this concert. Their notes incorrectly say that Kyle Garahan and Fritz Richmond accompanied the Fariñas at this workshop, which is unlikely given the number of photos taken, the fact that no harmonicas or washtub bass is played, neither was introduced, and in the final analysis, neither would have fit on the tiny stage. It's far more likely that Vanguard assumed the Workshop versions here were just the unedited versions already included on the Memories LP, so performed a cut-and-paste on that album's credits for both songs. Of course, someone else inside Vanguard had already assumed the same and chopped them off the set's Memories track-listing, figuring those two tracks would be added to the end of the live versions. So you end up two songs short one place and two credits wrong in another.) According to the photos, Kooper stuck to guitar (though according to the recordings, not often within mike range), and Langhorne played two different tambourines -- one regulation-size and shaken, not stirred, and the other an enormous Turkish affair with shakers all around, played by hand and capable of producing bass, higher-pitched snare-like sounds, as well as almost cymbal or maraca-like sound with its shakers. The second song, Hard Lovin' Loser, featured all four playing, with Mimi's mike quickly going dead - unless she stopped playing, then working again -- Langhorne plays the regulation tambourine.
"I'm kind of fond of losers, " Dick says, "As a lot of people seem to be these days. But I like them to have one saving grace -- this is a song we made up about a loser. The only thing he can do well is make it. The girls like him. It's called Hard Loving Loser -- it's a new song." It wouldn't be a wild guess if the casual observer suggested Dick and Mimi'd burned the midnight oil to come up with a load of new songs for maximum effect at the festival, despite having an album less than two months old. In any event, it's hard to imagine what Jean Ritchie's impression was of this one.
Langhorne shifts to his huge Turkish tambourine, Dick plays, Kooper noodles, Mimi alternately taps and plays and they light into an instrumental called Dopico, named after Dick's Cuban friend, Alfredo. Midway, Dick produces a duck call hidden in his right pocket and does an improvised call to all ducks ( it pops up right after he's just done lengthy open-string strumming thus allowing him to pick it up, then it closely follows his improvised strumming, and no one but Dick knew what patterns he'd play, so even lacking photo proof, we'd still have him to rights).
Another instrumental follows, as Fariña tells Langhorne to hang on to his weaponry and they launch into another instrumental, Celebration For A Gray Day, the title track from their first album.
After much applause, the Fariñas rise and wander for a second as Jean Ritchie sits at the front of the stage and asks the audience for questions. Someone points out Dick's left his duck call under his chair. An audience member close to the stage asks the seated Jean Ritchie what Mimi's guitar tuning is, and Jean turns and spots the wandering Fariñas and makes a grab for Mimi -- "Mimi, don't go away this is a workshop now, not a concert," and laughs, "Can't escape!" Mimi sits to her right and Ritchie repeats the question about Mimi's tuning -- "Question is , how do you tune your guitar?"
" I don't really know!" says Mimi to much laughter, " It's like a G tuning with one extra doo-dad." The audience asks just what her doo-dad might be, but suddenly withdraws the question, saying "That's the secret, right?" But Mimi replies, making her guitar more visible for this show-and-tell by turning the guitar upwards and strumming the two bottom strings -- " These two are the same -- like the dulcimer."
" Oh, it's a dulcimer tuning -- that's all right!" says Jean.
"It's a dulcimer workshop" points out Dick, standing behind the seated women, hoisting his soggy cup of Narragansett's finest, while his host replies that that makes a guitar tuned like a dulcimer all the more welcome.
Ritchie looks around, then at the audience and notes, "That was really an education for me. I've never heard anything like that before, except on the record," thus disproving the theory that she didn't listen to anything nontraditional, even if she didn't quite grasp what it was.
As a finale for the workshop, Jean Ritchie suggests they all play something together, and suggests Shady Grove , but then discovers she's not in their tuning and rather than take time retuning, offers to forego playing and stick to singing. Dick quickly responds, "No, no! Not at all!... cuz I don't even know the song! I'll play it on (and gives a duck call). During the retuning, she looks at Dick dulcimer and points out, "I'm kinda scared of that instrument he's got - looks dangerous to me - that's the jazziest dulcimer I ever saw!" (And indeed it was. The dulcimer, made by Englishman Terry Hennessy in about 1963, was a dark blond dreadnaught compared to any other at the time, made with a Taiwanese spruce top, African walnut fretboard, and mahogany back and sides, complete with an unheard of plastic pick-guard.) As everyone retunes, planes from a local air show scratch the sky overhead. "It's a wargame! They're gonna practice bombing the field!" announces Dick . "They're gonna do it again tomorrow," announces Ritchie. "In case they miss!" adds Dick with a gleeful note.
After several minutes of retuning, chasing people off speaker towers, and buzzes from our shadow forces, Shadey Grove is successfully learned and performed, and everyone is pleased, excused and starts to wander off like an untended herd of cats.
Dick announces, "See yuh later!" turns and packs up until tomorrow.
New Folks Concert
"It's raining! It's raining! Have mercy!"
Sunday morning started out overcast. But if you looked at the history of the coastal Newport, Rhode Island, it's likely the percentages would lean in that direction for the better part of the year. So one more day didn't mean much to anyone. The weather predicted the possibility of showers, but with the way the weekend was running so far, the weather could have predicted Ooblik and nobody would have cared as long as the music went on as scheduled and the beer tent was still opened.
On the schedule were only three events, and all slated for the main stage; the 10:00 a.m. Concert of Religious Music -- where hell was kept at bay; Peter Yarrow's (oddly scheduled) 2:20 afternoon concert, New Folks , which went from heaven to hell and back again; and the finale, the Evening Concert (whose theme, as announced by Pete Seeger, was to be a message from the performers to a newborn child about the state of the world ) , where Dylan plugged in and some people's vision of hell was made manifest, while others floated on angels' wings.
Dick's plans for the afternoon included bringing several other performers up on stage to fill out their sound , capitalize on and enhance the image they'd made with their Saturday workshops and create a memorable party atmosphere on stage that no one would forget. To that end, most likely either during the sparsely attended Religious Concert ( because Dylan borrowed the Main Stage between the end of the Religious Concert and the beginnings of New Folks to run his ad-hoc electric band through their three songs and do a sound check, and it would have been impossible to hear anything anywhere near the stage), or during the first ten acts of the New Folks, Dick and Mimi practiced several songs outside the performers' area with Al Kooper, Fritz Richmond, and Kyle Garahan, observed by Butterfield, Rev. Gary Davis (who, though scheduled for the Religious Concert, obviously wasn't performing there at the time), a nattily attired Eric Von Schmidt (surfer shirt, burmudas and sandals) and about 25 others. From the photos of both the Religious Concert (where the sun came out briefly to see its favorite, Son House) and the practice, though hot and dusty, it's clear the sky was beginning to cloud over...
New Folks, though due to start at 2:20, actually started about 2:30 under the three-story high canopy of the Main Stage , as the skies continued to cloud up. The concert being about three hours, everyone would ideally get 15 minutes, though, again, this didn't always hold true. As Robert Jones explains : "Somebody might have sung 30 minutes, then somebody sang two tunes, then another person sang two tunes.... It was not formatted, it just sort of fell in like that. And because of the technical situation, which basically was one or two microphones, maybe two at the most, maybe three at some places, one was limited -- you couldn't have three people playing together, because two people probably would not have a chance to be heard (where only one mike was available). And the recording was [done inside] just a small little van behind them, recording them". Those limitations understood, first up was Byron & Lue Berline, a father and son fiddling duo from Oklahoma , accompanied by two of Boston's finest, Jim Rooney on guitar and Bill Keith on banjo. Spider John Koerner followed, accompanied by fellow Minnesotan, Tony Glover; followed in order by the Blue Ridge Mountain Dancers, Hamilton Camp, Kathy & Carol (performing an acapella version of the Fariña-composed , A Swallow Song, and had probably, as a courtesy, checked with Dick to make sure they weren't doing it too), Mark Spoelstra, the Chambers Brothers ( a wonderful gospel group transforming themselves into a formidable rock band, now dressed-down from their morning appearance at the Religious Concert) - joined by Joan Baez and Sam Lay on drums from the Butterfield Band), singer-songwriter Patrick Sky, followed by another stage-stomping appearance by the dancers, and then Gordon Lightfoot capping off his debut weekend. The Charles River Valley Boys, also in the program as slotted here, opted instead to perform that morning at the Religious Concert. With the skies thickening and growing darker and the chances for rain increasing the odds with every flutter of the breeze, Dick and Mimi Fariña took stage somewhere about 4:45.
With Dick wearing what looks like pressed brown corduroy Levis, Beatle boots and his short-sleeved black turtle neck and Mimi in a sleeveless, striped jumper with, as always, no shoes, they sat on the folding chairs, adjusted their two microphones (each!), and let the party begin slowly, with the intention of gathering speed with each song. The audience was about to get a quick glimpse of the size of Dick Fariña's Kicks Warehouse.
Never having heard the existing tapes, I have constructed this thin raft to float a theory which is mine (in whole or in part) on that day's playlist. After sifting through Hajdu's Positively 4th Street , the existing released tapes, 35 years of hearsay, and a host of way-too-close examinations of their segment in the film Festival , I've found this to be the sequence that works best -
1. "Birmingham Sunday", This again was Dick's solemn song about the deaths by bombing of three young African-American girls in the basement of an Alabama church, has been noted by Hajdu as a probable and by others as a definite opener.
2. "The Falcon" - (And here I veer off from Hajdu) They must have done another slow one, where Dick's master plan was carried out with step 1: Gradually start bringing on other performers. This one being Joan Baez, which would certainly have been a plotted idea to get things moving by inviting the reigning Queen Of Folk, as well as Mimi's sister and Dick's sister-in-law, out to grab the audience's attention. (Backed up by an interview I had with Eric Von Schmidt thirty years ago, in which I remember him saying he was furious at Baez because she came back out later on, which he saw as an attempt to steal some of Dick and Mimi's hard earned glory; but in order to come back on, by definition you'd have had been on previously. So...) The photos show Dick and Mimi singing, eyes closed, with Joan joining them in the middle. According to Hajdu, Joan wasn't on stage until the end, when they performed another rousing sing-along version of "Pack Up Your Sorrows", surrounded by three additional players (who'd have to crowd the two vocal mikes) and people swirling all around them. In the Gahr photo, there is Mimi on stage left, Joan in the middle, Dick on stage right. And no one else -- two mikes for the voices, two mikes for the instruments. Dick holds his dulcimer sideways with his arm across it, holding it on the bottom, which, considering the finale song has a constant dulcimer part, is not the optimum way to coax a tune from a stringed instrument. Meanwhile Mimi carefully picks strings and Joan crosses her arms and looks downright gloomy. Or soulful. None of the three are exactly bouncing in their seats, or showing the usual outward signs of ecstatic success. What Hajdu writes about "Birmingham Sunday" fits much better here - "The ballad was apparently not moving the festival crowd as it had in Mimi and Richard's club shows; people were squirming in their seats . Before the song was over, at least a dozen of them got up and left. Mimi was horrified; Richard stiffened, but he grinned and adhered to his plan, introducing Fritz Richmond." In the Waterman photo in Von Schmidt & Rooney's Baby Let Me Follow You Down, we see over the shoulders of the three, into the audience. At this point, the sky is very gray, top to bottom, but the crowd seem, for the most part, to be in their seats with their faces towards the stage, not investigating low-flying clouds and dripping water.
** "Hard-Lovin' Loser" - I have my doubts that this was done, though Hajdu's interview with Mimi says it was, and I've also heard so over the years : "We went from that [the first song] straight into Hard Lovin' Loser and everything else we did that cooked," said Mimi. "I looked out, and the audience started dancing in the pouring rain. Everybody was getting soaked, and people were laughing and dancing to the music." Here, I suspect Mimi may have been telescoping things only half remembered (Mimi wrote me a short note at one point on the subject of Newport, "...in 30 years' time I have forgotten a great deal.") But Hajdu had access to the tapes....
3. "Dopico / Celebrations For A Gray Day" - This makes much more sense here than at the end where tradition has always parked it. Dopico is a song that starts out slowly, building in depth and sound as more instruments are added. The released live recording gives audible proof that Bruce Langhorne and his Turkish tambourine are on this song (and also later appeared on the studio version), as are Fritz Richmond and his off-mike washtub bass (both credited on the Memories release of the song). From the audience's view, from the left, it would be Richmond behind and to the left of the seated Dick, an also-seated Mimi (Joan's chair having been removed with Joan), and to the right and behind Mimi is Langhorne. In the film Festival, the four of them are shown performing an instrumental (and this medley was the only one), with a very dry Baez dancing around behind them, while at first, some of the people in box seats are seen starting to put their programs over their heads, though nobody is seen leaving. A splice later, over the shoulders of the performers and the still dancing Joan, some of the box eats are seen empty, with more evacuating and pronto. The end of this produces a good round of applause and a polite "thenkew" from Dick , a pause, then directly into the next song without an intro. The conclusion here is that if anyone was wet at this point, it was bearable, and certainly the stage wasn't wet because there'd have been panic from the stage hands to get the microphones away from the edge of the stage -- I am told that when this particular microphone gets wet, it sounds like a light bulb popping, and the protection of the non-profit's valuable mikes was high on the list. None are heard even making a sniffle or cough and there is no sign of panic on the stage. It is possible that a light preliminary sprinkle had started, along with a small evacuation of the expensive seats and was seen by Dick, who noticed what was going on and began to look for reasons. Dick Waterman, who was photographing the event, told me years ago that "You could see the rain cloud moving across the fields towards us." And the heavens were about to open.
4. "House Un-American Blues Activity Dream" - You can tell on the recording that Dick's in a hurry because he drops his beloved lengthy intro to the song and let's her rip. It was clearly time to get moving, and the Fariñas were as ready as the day is long. But somewhere during this song (I suspect it's near the end of the first verse, right on the word "pill" in the line "So I hopped on a plane, I took a pill for my brain," because both Dick AND Mimi hesitate on cue at a common distraction, Mimi giggles very slightly, and in a millisecond both go back into the song), the clouds dumped what they had. With very little chance to duck for cover, most of the crowd was instantly soaked ("Really, where else could they go? The beer tent was the nearest place, and it was a little late..." said Waterman) and stayed in place. Rain pounded the crowd. In the film, a stage hand comes out during the song, stands in front of Dick and tries to protect the mike, if not move it back as much as can be without physically lifting the performers and their chairs. Joan is still dancing, but has moved stage right behind Mimi, who now has two Board of Directors members hovering over her -- Ralph Rinzler has dashed over with a large striped umbrella and holds it over as much of Dick and Mimi as he can manage; Peter Yarrow has come over to tell Mimi about the dangers to be found in introducing water to electricity (Hajdu : " Peter Yarrow bolted out to tell Mimi and Richard to stop -- the audience wanted to leave, and the rain was unsafe for everyone near the stage; the microphones and wiring were not weatherproof and needed to be shut off immediately"). At the end of the song there is thunderous applause, though some still obviously unsure if the Fariñas will continue or if the show will be shut down. Dick quickly says, "Ladies and gentlemen! Wait, wait, wait, waitwait! Wait!", and I believe it was clear to Yarrow and everyone else that the crowd wasn't going anywhere except closer and the Fariñas were staying. Quickly adapting to the change, and probably just as eager as Dick and Mimi for them to succeed and his New Folks concert not to be washed out, Yarrow grabs a mike and announces, "Right, come on back, come on back," then off-mike to the stagehands, " Move this whole thing back -- all the mikes and everything -- everything comes back," then refocuses on the crowd, adding, "all right. While we get the mikes set up, out of the rain so they won't be clobbered ("Bothered?" questions a comically incredulous Richmond), I wanna make one point very clear -- it is not raining!" to wild cheers and applause, probably from both sides of the proscenium. Everything is brought back, including the Fariñas. Slightly revising Hajdu's chronology again (though he's heard the tapes), I'd say it is at this point that Dick tells the crowd, "Okay everybody. Everybody get up from your seats now, okay? You can't dance sitting down! Right? Okay - let's go! Let's boogie!". And as I've heard from all directions, the Fariñas proceed to pull out every fast song they know. The audience commenced a soggy boogie in open defiance of Artie Shaw's minimalist claim that "If you wanna dance, a windshield wiper'll do it - all you need is a beat."
5. "One Way Ticket" - This song is unknown among those who've tried to piece together a set list over the years, but can be detected by the active anal-retentive mind as it zips past on five seconds worth of audio tape in the Festival film, playing against what is probably the Dopico/Celebrations footage. (It should be noted here the Fariña footage in that film is seemingly all done against non-synchronized soundtrack. The soundtrack is a collage of the Fariñas' performances that day put together by director Murray Lerner and his editor, Howard Alk. Starting with thunder, the performances start with "One Way Ticket" separated after five seconds by another thunderclap before splicing right into "Reno Nevada", then the Yarrow "not raining" quote, followed by "Pack Up Your Sorrows". The film footage, however, is something else again. It appears to be thus; "House Un-American" runs under "One Way Ticket." It may or may not be slightly skewed sound against its actual background of "Reno, Nevada" -- the clapping and dancing is usually to the correct beat - then back to "House Un-American", as witnessed by Kyle Garahan leaning into Dick's microphone, then a pan of the audience followed by footage of the end of "Reno" and into "Pack Up Your Sorrows.")
6. "Reno Nevada" - The film footage shows a by now drenched Joan Baez (hence the dating late in the chronology) dancing next to a loopy and slightly soggy Peter Yarrow, who bops past a very dry Noel Stookey while the soundtrack plays an almost to-the-beat background of "Reno Nevada", though the cuts back and forth are a bit confusing.
The possibility that the songs played and those filmed could be widely different, with the whole performance filmed and selected footage used here and there from all the songs is a possibility largely scoffed at by a filmmaker/collector and fan I know who went directly to the Murray Lerner and asked about outtakes. He was told that due to budgetary concerns, literally, everything they filmed was in the movie - hence, they only filmed half of Howlin' Wolf's set (seen right before the Fariñas, though actually from a year later), which was who the fan/film collector was mainly curious about. And they only filmed, or had usable footage on (though possibly the audio was good -- hence the collage), parts of the festivals, here and there. Unlike Vanguard who taped everything, no one else was ever sure of what was taped. There was always some confusion about this -- a letter exists in the Archive of Folk Culture in the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress from Geoff Muldaur asking if they have any festival tapes, if they know what tapes exist or even where they are. Nobody was ever quite sure. It now appears, per Mary Katherine Aldin's remarkable reissue program at that label, that Vanguard taped everything. So they do have the complete New Folks concert, although over the years I've heard they stopped the recorders midway through the Fariñas when the rain started, or even most recently in the Complete Vanguard Recordings notes, " Though Vanguard's tapes were rolling long enough to capture two songs, the disturbance from the rain and noise from a loud blues band at an adjacent stage rendered the tapes virtually unlistenable." This, I suspect, is a lie of sorts. Witness the crystal clarity of the two songs they say they recorded, or at least released - "Dopico/Celebrations" and "House Un-American Blues Activity Dream" , and you'll have several reasons to doubt their statement. First, under their own admission, they stopped recording when the rain became a problem -- so what happened to the first two songs performed when it wasn't raining audibly? Second, there was only one concert at a time on Sunday -- no workshops - and even if there were another concert or workshop, it's very unlikely anyone would have been playing plugged-in anything -- and certainly not anywhere on the festival grounds because the main stage was the only one anywhere with a roof over it. Third -- I have no trouble listening to the two songs released, and nobody I ever knew was forced to tear off earphones while listening and utter vile oaths or other sordid unpleasantness in regards to the sound quality -- no noise, no rain, no splashes, no microphones blowing up. But, had Vanguard included the two songs from this concert already released on LP and CD, would they have been able to excuse the rest of the missing songs?
7. "Pack Up Your Sorrows" - The film footage shows an obviously beaming Mimi having just finished "Reno Nevada", with the rain having slowed to a tolerable spitting level and it getting brighter again. The Fariñas are still under the watchful umbrella of Ralph Rinzler; Yarrow leans in front of him talking to Dick and nodding his head. The camera then moves to a glowing Richard Fariña who's been given the okay for one more song, which he acknowledges quickly, then leans towards Mimi and says "Pack Up Your Sorrows!" Done at the slower tempo they'd used the day before, and with the audio played over scenes in the film -- probably shot during the next act -- of the audience drying off. Dick's idea for this was that they'd have lots of people singing on stage by the end, and indeed they did -- visiting Brit and eyewitness Ian Woodward listed them in his diary as Joan Baez, Sebastian Dangerfield (actually one of the many aliases used by the finally just plain Norman Greenbaum of the Kweskin Jug Band), Kyle, Fritz and Bruce, Bernice Reagon (also the next act), and at least the better part of, if not the whole Charles River Valley Boys. Dick again uses it as a sing along, repeating the first verse, but ending with "... and we'll sing the sun right out!" And they did. It was no miracle, but that afternoon, everyone walked on water.
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (whose drums are clearly visible behind the Fariñas, left there from earlier use behind the Chambers Brothers) was originally scheduled to do mop up, but after the cloudburst when the metaphor became reality, suddenly the middle of a large, wet stage was not thought the best place to end their careers by plugging in. They were rescheduled (and did play) as the opening act for that evening's concert. So it was left for the formerly next-to-last act, Bernice Johnson Reagon, to close the soggy show. Reagon, a gorgeous African American woman with a wonderful, large voice, is described in the program as from Albany, Georgia, and an original member of the Freedom Singers. She'd record an album for Folkways just after the festival, but it wouldn't be for some 8 years before she got the fame she deserved as founder of Sweet Honey In The Rock. This day, though, the Fariñas would be a hard act to follow.
It was traditional on the last night to assemble as many of that weekend's performers on one stage and form a huge chorus -- in 1963, everyone had gotten together and sung "We Shall Overcome." For that night's finale, Pete Seeger lead the collected performers and the audience in a version of " Don't Study War No More." As the camera scans the packed main stage, it pans across the front row, past Bernice Reagon, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and pauses for a second and comes back, but in that second you can catch a glimpse of Mimi in a scarf and Dick looking around the stage and audience with smiling eyes. And just before the fade, Dick is caught alone in a grin that needs cinerama.
Lord Buckley said, "If you get to it and can not do it, there you jolly well are, aren't you?" Richard and Mimi Fariña had gotten there and done it with balloons on and would be whispered about and celebrated for their gray day until people stopped talking.
They'd return to touring small clubs after this and relocate from Cambridge to Carmel to help Joan in her Institute For The Study Of Non-violence until the end of September, when Vanguard would pay for their flight back to New York for a "Sing-In For Peace in Vietnam" at Carnegie Hall because it was also time to record their second album. Reflections In a Crystal Wind would be recorded in the last few days of September and be released at the end of the year.
In the spring of the next year, Sing Out! lists a roster of performers scheduled for that summer's 1966 Newport Folk Festival. The Fariñas are included.
Baez, Joan. Daybreak. New York: Dial Press, 1968.
Baez, Joan . And a Voice To Sing With. New York, Summit Books, 1987.
Bikel, Theodore. Theo: The autogiography of Theodore Bikel. New York: HarperCollins Books, 1994.
Cantwell, Robert. When We Were Good: The Folk Revival. Cambridge, Massachussetts: Harvard University Press, 1996.
Collins, Judy. The Judy Collins Songbook. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1969.
Crenshaw, Marshall. Hollywood Rock : a Guide To Rock'n'Roll in the Movies. New York HarperPerennial, 1994.
Fariña, Mimi. Letter to the author, June 26, 1995.
Fariña, Richard. The Songs of Richard Fariña. New York: Music Publishers Holding Corporation, 1967.
Gahr, David. The Face of Folk Music. New York: Citadel Press, 1968.
Goodman, Walter. The Committee : The Extraordinary career of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968.
Hajdu, David. Positively 4th Street : The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. New York, 2001.
Heylin, Clinton. Bob Dylan : Behind the Shades. New York: Summit Books, 1991.
Jackson, Bruce. "Newport." Sing Out! - v.16, number 4, Aug/Sept. 1966
Jones, Robert L. Interview with the author, Nov. 1994.
Kooper, Al. Backstage Passes. New York: Stein & Day, 1977.
Kramer, Daniel. Bob Dylan : A Portrait of the Artist's Early Years. New York: Citadel Underground, 1991.
Lefcowitz, Eric. Tomorrow Never Knows : The Beatles Last Concert. San Francisco: Terra Firma, 1987.
Malcolm, Janet. The Silent Woman : Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes. New york. Knopf, 1994.
Murray, Charles Shaar. Boogie Man : The Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American Twentieth Century. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Ritchie, Jean. Jean Ritchie's Dulcimer People. New York: Oak Publications, 1975.
Scaduto, Anthony. Bob Dylan : An Intimate Biography. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1971.
Shelton, Robert. No Direction Home : The Life and Music of Bob Dylan. New York: Beech Tree Books, 1986.
Sounes, Howard. Down the Highway : the Life of Bob Dylan. New York: Grove press, 2001.
Sptiz, Bob. Dylan : a Biography. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989.
Unterberger, Richie. Urban Spacemen and Watfaring Strangers : Overlooked Innovators and Eccentric Visionaries of '60s Rock. San Francisco: Miller-Freeman Books, 2000.
Vassal, Jacques. Electric Children : Roots and Branches of Modern Folkrock. New York : Taplinger Publishing Company, 1976.
Von Schmidt, Eric and Jim Rooney. Baby Let Me Follow You Down, The Illustrated Story of the Cambridge Folk Years (2nd ed.). Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994.
Williams, Richard. Dylan : A Man Called Alias. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1992.
Woliver, Robbie. Bringing It All Back Home. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986.
Woodward, Ian. Phone conversation with the author, 12/01.
Yarrow, Peter. Interview with the author, May, 1995.
This aims to be one-stop shopping for tales about the Fariñas at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, tracing their movements from one end to the other, separating wheat from chaff, though also occasionally combining them.