September 5, 1973
While September 5, 1973 may have seemed like an ordinary day in Buffalo, it actually stands out due to some interesting things that took place. That was the day Mimi Farina headlined the Century Theatre. Now many might say who is Mimi Farina? The answer is she was the sister of folk singer Joan Baez. Mimi also played guitar and according to Buffalo Evening News reviewer Jim Bisco, “She’s a very competent performer whose unassuming charm easily grows on an audience”.
According to that concert review it marked the debut of a new promoter known as Windfall Productions. Sad thing was only about 350 people attended this show. The highlight of the night for Farina was “In The Quiet Morning” a song she wrote to Janis Joplin. Farina’s sister Joan Baez recorded the song and it peaked at #69 on the charts. Other songs performed that night by Farina were “Disappointed Again”, “Letter To Jesus” and “Best of Lovers”.
Opening the show was none other than Jim Croce. Croce was still riding high with his hit “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” which peaked at number one in July. Croce had also played Kleinhan’s in March of 73′ just before his LP Life and Times was released.
Bisco also noted in his review that “In all, an easy-to-take composite of charm and artistry from both halves of the concert bill. It was odd to find Croce, one of the hottest performers of the moment not attracting a wider audience.It just points up the fact no matter how great the potential is, the concert promotion business is very risky”.
The sad part of the story was this show turned out to be one of Croce’s last. Following a concert just 15 days later on September 20, 1973 in Natchitoches, LA, Croce and his bandmate Maury Muehleisen were killed as their plane crashed during takeoff. They had just finished performing at Northwestern State University’s Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches an hour before.
With such a bright future ahead of him Croce was about to give it all up and quit the music business. A letter arrived after his death to his wife Ingrid stating he wanted to get out of the public eye and shift his focus away from music. We were very fortunate he left us quite a lasting legacy of great music that is still treasured to this day.