Sunday, April 28, 2013

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Remembering Richie Havens

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Richie Havens, one of my generation’s iconic folk singers and guitarists. The photo shows me meeting him after a performance a few years ago at the Towne Crier CafĂ© in Pawling, NY, 67 miles north of NYC. Richie was an outstanding performer, perceptive and witty commentator and warm individual, as well as an environmental and peace activist. Listen to his famous improvised medley of "Motherless Child" and "Freedom" at Woodstock, where I first heard him perform and, like thousands of others, was amazed:

Listen to a tribute to Richie Havens on the St. James Infirmary music show, hosted by my good friend Michael Mand.


Michael The Molar Maven said...

An obvious choice for SNATLC, but an absolutely appropriate one. Otis Redding once said that, once he heard Aretha's recording of 'Respect', it was forever her song, not his. (I've paraphrased.) The same could be said of Richie Havens. His unique style turned any song he decided to cover into a Richie Havens song - and that includes some of the greatest songwriters of his generation. If I'd ever written a song - which I haven't - Havens would have been one of my choices to sing it. Alas, that will never happen. If I were allowed only one word to describe Richie Havens, it would be the one you used: warm. I wish I had been at the Towne Crier with you.

Jeff Tone said...

Havens' covers were great because he applied his unique style to the songs.