Posts Tagged ‘Mimi Farina & Tom Jans’

One Found Hiding In The Stacks

April 17, 2011

Originally posted March 5, 2007

There comes a point for a collector when it’s impossible to keep track mentally of what records (or CDs) are in the collection. For me, I think that moment came at about the 1,000 mark, during the years I was living about a mile from Cheapo’s, a massive used CD and record store located on Lake Street in south Minneapolis.

As I’ve noted in an earlier post, it was during the late 1980s that I became a record collector instead of just a buyer. I wasn’t looking for rarities, though. I was trying to put together a collection that reasonably represented pop and rock music from, say, 1955 through, oh, 1985. The dates were selected without much thought, but they seemed to make sense. And when I moved from the Minneapolis suburbs to Pleasant Avenue in south Minneapolis in early 1992, I had a good start, with about 850 LPs.

I lived there for a little more than seven years, and in those seven years, I went a little crazy, I guess. By the time I moved from that apartment, my collection had grown from about 850 to somewhere around 2,500 LPs. The main reason was Cheapo’s, a place I frequented enough for one of the clerks to refer to me one day as a “super-regular.” (I asked if that meant I could get one of the store’s t-shirts; sadly, the answer was “no.”

During that period, I began to lose track of what I had in the stacks. Eventually, I organized a database to keep track, but still, from day to day, I find surprises. In the past months, since I got a turntable that records straight into the computer, I’ve been sorting through the stacks and pulling out LPs with the intention of ripping them to mp3s. And I’ve found some stuff I didn’t know I had.

I’d forgotten about Don Nix until the other day, when I shared one of his albums here. The two albums by Toni Brown and Terry Garthwaite – shared here last week – hadn’t crossed my mind for a long time. The same holds true for Jimmie Spheeris, whom I’d forgotten until I dug into the stacks.

There are other obscurities I have set aside to share here eventually. A group called The Trout recorded at least one album of a distinctive country/rock/folk blend in 1968, and a group called Snail managed to get a recording deal in 1978 or so, in what sounds like a mélange of country, folk and pop that might have been about eight years too late when it was released (but still might be fun to listen to). There’s an all-woman group from the early 1970s called Birtha with its album Can’t Stop The Noise, and a group called Crackin’ from the late 1970s that seemed unable to decide between pop, horn rock and Earth, Wind & Fire-style funk.

And then, once again, there is Tom Jans, this time recording with Mimi Fariña on their 1971 album Take Heart. I mentioned the record a while back, when I posted Jans’ self-titled 1974 album. And I was startled to find Take Heart in the stacks, next to the empty slot for Tom Jans. I’d forgotten I had it.

It turns out to be a pretty good record. It’s not great, but it’s better than a lot of the singer-songwriter/folk-rock records that were being produced in those days faster than any one listener could play them. Listening to it for the first time in years, I was impressed specifically with “Kings and Queens,” “In The Quiet Morning (For Janis Joplin)” and “”No Need To Be Lonely.”  Along with vocals and guitars from Fariña and Jans, the album features standout session players Craig Doerge on piano, Russ Kunkel on drums and Leland Sklar on bass. Jim Keltner, another studio standout, also plays drums on a few cuts.

One thing about the record that puzzles me has nothing to do with the music; it’s the billing. Mimi Fariña, Joan Baez’s sister, was the widow of Richard Fariña, with whom she’d recorded several highly regarded folk albums in the 1960s. Every other reference to her I’ve seen has spelled her surname with the tilde, the diacritical mark above the “n”. Here, however, the record is credited to Mimi Farina. I wonder if the record company thought the Spanish spelling was too ethnic for the buying public in 1971?

The track listing is:
Kings & Queens
The Great White Horse
Reach Out (For Charlie Ross)
In The Quiet Morning (For Janis Joplin)
Letter To Jesus
After The Sugar Harvest
No Need To Be Lonely

(On “Charlotte,” there is a patch of distortion on the vocal. It seems to be the pressing, not any damage to the vinyl. There are, as should be expected, some pops and snaps, but the sound is pretty good, I think.)

Mimi Farina & Tom Jans – Take Heart [1971]