Monday, October 31, 2016

Song Of Sorrow

Do you remember the days when talent and a great song mattered? This is from the Spring of 2012.
About once a week, one of my students will comment on my memory. I don't think I'm being prideful in admitting my memory for details is pretty good, at least in areas that interest me. I also tell quite a few stories to illustrate points and writing a daily blog probably helps me in rehearsing details. (On the other hand, there are plenty of things where my talent level is weak at best. Space inhibits an inclusive listing here.) Anyway, a long time ago, I bought a book on rock and roll history which had a notation of a singer I'd never heard of, a guy named Richard Farina. He was married to Mimi, the younger sister of folk legend Joan Baez, and he wrote a book with one of the greatest titles ever: Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me. I remembered that Farina was killed in a motorcycle accident at a young age (29) but I had never heard him sing. Somehow, his name popped into my head again recently and by way of YouTube, I found Richard and Mimi singing a duet, sort of accompanied by folk giant, Pete Seeger, which you can watch here at the top of this entry, circa 1965. What a beautiful couple. Imagine, artists being photogenic without costumes, who harmonize wonderfully, and sing meaningful lyrics while accompanying themselves. Seems like sort of a lost genre, doesn't it?

What really struck me as I watched the clip and re-watched several times is the song itself. Richard mentions it was co-written by himself and yet another Baez sister, Pauline. The name of the song is Pack Up Your Sorrows and Richard goes over the lyrics to the chorus in case anyone listening might want to sing along. These are the words:
Ah, but if somehow you could pack up your sorrows,
And give them all to me,
You would lose them, I know how to use them,
Give them all to me.

Teamed with a catchy tune, it's been a song I've found myself singing lately but, of course, only when no one is listening. I know it was not written as a religious piece but I can't help thinking there is a parallel to what Jesus, who was called Man of Sorrows, taught in Matthew 11, verse 28-30:
 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
We used to sing a song in chapel called Cast Your Burdens Unto Jesus. The kids liked it because it was a high energy song. I liked it because I know we all have a multitude of burdens in different degrees and Jesus offers relief. He can undoubtedly handle the weight of our sorrows; He handled the weight of His own. I wonder if Mimi, now in her late sixties, is still overwhelmed with pain when she sings that song and thinks of Richard who never made it to his thirtieth birthday. Death is the ultimate sorrow on earth but the death of the One who took our sorrows is the ultimate joy in the afterlife. No tears in heaven.

Here is that wonderful clip!:

Applicable quote of the day:
"Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps."
William Blake

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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Cindy said...

That is a nice song. I've never heard of them. Imagine seeing a concert with just the singers and instruments. Today, I doubt many of them have any real talent.

Steve Hawley said...

Amen, Cindy. Novel concept!

RonF said...

Steve, I came across your insightful comments about my cousin Richard while surfing for his music. You expressed my feelings about Richard and Mimi's performance from Pete Seeger's TV show back then better than I ever could have. Growing up with Richard was an incredible ride and often a hilarious experience. It is wonderful that you were able to see so clearly back in time who he was.
Unfortunately Mimi left us all at 56 back in 2001. Thanks for bringing their spirits back to life again.
Ron Farina

RonF said...
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