( and don't miss those rings! )
I first heard Richie Havens [Richie who???] on a Woodstock Tape that I bought.
... and no, it wasn't the one with "Freedom" on it.
It had this marvellous song called "I can't make it anymore" (a Gordon Lightfoot song).
Clearly the song stood out. It was something fantastic, nothing like what I'd heard before......
with this unique strumming style and soulful voice...
God knows how many times I must have listened to that song after that.
It was truely remarkable.
Later on this classic concert series on the tele, (the Bob Dylan Anniversary Concert),
I saw him again, doing "Just like a Woman" (Bob Dylan song) ....and man I tell you,
it was out of this world! unique...absolutely!
One thing that struck me most was the way he played his guitar....very strange indeed.
He actually barred with his thumb! (I can tell you its crazy, try doing this. Its almost
impossible unless you've got a 9 inch thumb!!!).
I'm sure Richie's a man with HUGE hands :O).
Not only that, halfway down the song, he goes into these super fast strumming sequences
(almost percussive)........it kills!
Since then, I've finally got a hold on "RESUME" - a collection of his hits.
This is a great buy, believe me. (If you haven't listened to any of his stuff, i guess this would
be the perfect place to start).
Richie's covered some beatles stuff here.
Now, I'm a really big fan of the Beatles and these songs just show how uniquely Richie
interprets their material.
Ex: Take the song 'Rocky Racoon'. The original is a great song , lots of melody et al.
Now the Havens version. He just puts up the tempo. I mean the way it picks up, right from
the intro to when the bass kicks in and those amazing tongas , the sheer energy of it all......
The album also highlights the superior guitar work of Paul Williams, who does some really
groovy "fill ins" (most notably on Minstrel from Gault---another terrific no).
That fast paced fill-in guitar work blends splendidly with Havens percussive strumming,
the output of which is a unique sound.....
Enough said. Now get the album and give it a listen.
Remember its Folk -with a difference.
Here's a shot of Richie in action which I stole off an other site!
Guitar Information Page:
Info on Richie's guitar, tunings , and chords to his songs. Go on to this page.
with Richie at Guitar.com
NOTE: All "external" links will open in the same new window.
Surfing around recently, I came across these articles. Take a look -
1) Richie Havens' new-age, hippie music - by Seth Rogovoy
2) September 24, 1971 issue of LIFE magazine featuring Havens.
3) Hobokenfest article on Richie.
4) Richie's new book "They can't hide us anymore" - read a chat transcript at Barnes and Nobles.com!
5) About.com's section on Richie and some nice pics too!
6) New! An article on Richie's book at CNN - includes mp3s! Be sure to check out his wonderful performance of "Just like a Woman".
7) An article/interview of Richie at Creative-Outpost.
8) Assorted pics of Richie:
Pic1 Pic2 Pic3 (This one features his amazing sideman Paul Williams!)
Radio Woodstock - Check out real audio interviews of Richie!
Karen's Web Page - Karen's put up great pics of Richie in action!
Brian Mathieson's Richie Havens Pages - Brian's put up a great site. This was the first one and its pretty comprehensive too!!
New!The Unofficial Richie Havens Website - Timi's put up a great site - Lots of pictures and album covers + more!!
The Official Richie Havens Homepage - Yup, it exists !!!