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Tom Jans
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Take Heart
A&M SP-4310

George Kimball
Rolling Stone
30th September 1971

Poet, novelist, songwriter and singer, Mimi Baez Farina's husband Richard was one of the brightest talents to grace our time, and his death in 1966 left a void. Mimi remarried a couple of years ago, and several months ago, she began to play publicly again, this time with her new partner Tom Jans.

Richard Farina's presence is keenly felt on this record. As a lyricist, he is sadly missed, but musically Take Heart is frequently reminiscent of the Farinas' two classic Vanguard albums, Celebration For A Gray Day and Reflections on a Crystal Wind. I suspect that it is consciously emulative, particularly on songs like Mimi's "Reach Out," "Madman," and "Letter To Jesus." Both Mimi and Jans are excellent guitarists, and the blend of the instruments often comes across in that jingle-jangle, sleighbell sound that characterized the music the Farinas made together.

Which is not to say that this isn't a beautiful album in its own right. Just that it's occasionally a disturbing one. Still, the warmth the two share–for their music and, apparently, for one another–comes across superbly throughout, notably on songs like Jans' "No Need to Be Lonely" and my personal favorite, Buck Owens' "The Great White Horse," where they are joined by Sneeky Pete on pedal steel guitar. "Kings and Queens" is another fine- though derivative - cut.

Mimi Farina and Tom Jans do make beautiful music, and this is a lovely album. It's also a haunting one; being reminded of Dick Farina's absence only reiterates his importance. I wish them well with this album. Take heart.


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photo credit:
tom sheehan London 20th May 1977

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