Throwback / Mimi & Richard Farina – Hard-Lovin’ Loser

[Throwback is a weekly (Thursday, natch) segment where we share a song or album from the past that we wouldn't otherwise have the occasion to discuss. We usually try to focus on the new, the fresh, and the undiscovered music here at DUL. This series gives us a chance to share songs and artists that we enjoy from other eras. They might be well-known classics, they might be hidden gems. They might be from 1969, or 1999, or even 1929. Who knows? There's lot of music out there, and this lets us share a small slice of what we like.]

Mimi & Richard Farina

Words by Brendan

You might not know about Richard Farina and his wife Mimi, but you really should. And you probably do, tangentially. Mimi Farina (née Baez) is the sister of Joan Baez, who you know as a famous folk-singer and ex-lover of Bob Dylan. Indeed, Bob and Richard were good friends as the two couples hung out together in the early- to mid-60s. (See the book Positively Fourth Street for more details of their friendship and such.) Moreover, Richard Farina‘s novel, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me, is vastly entertaining. Anywho, I’m here to share a song by Richard and Mimi, so let’s get to it.

I stumbled into Richard & Mimi Farina via the aforementioned book about their life and how it intertwined with that of Dylan and Baez. Lucky for us Pittsburghers, Jerry’s Records will have any vinyl record you might possibly need, and I found myself with a 2xLP of the husband/wife duo’s Greatest Hits. I listened to it inside and out for years. Many songs stood out as favorites, including “House Un-American Blues Activity Dream”, “Bold Marauder”, and “Mainline Prosperity Blues”, among others. In particular, I dug “Hard-Lovin’ Loser”:

Mimi & Richard Farina / “Hard-Lovin’ Loser” [1965]


I read later on that this song is purportedly about Bob Dylan himself. You can read enough into the lyrics to (perhaps) convince yourself of that. Either way, this song is an intriguing representation of the American way and the “go-ahead-ative-ness” that characterizes our “modern” nation. Along with that, I recently read a book about ambition and failure in America, called Born Losers. This book was written by Scott Sandage, a professor I had at CMU recently. I suggested this song to him and he alerted me to his book. I highly recommend the read; it’s a hidden underbelly of US history that deserves to be heard. And regardless, this is a classic 1960s folk-rock song with a lot to say about personality and culture. Dig in.

Buy Reflections In A Crystal Wind [1965]: Discogs / Amazon / iTunes

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