Thursday, December 17, 2009

"PRESERVATION" Preview #2: Appearing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band - MR. RICHIE HAVENS

Richie Havens
Richie Havens is gifted with one of the most recognizable voices in popular music. His fiery, poignant, always soulful singing style has remained unique and ageless since he first emerged from the Greenwich Village folk scene in the early 1960’s. It’s a voice that has inspired and electrified audiences from the Woodstock Music & Arts Fair in 1969, to the Clinton Presidential Inauguration in 1993 -coming full circle with the 30th Woodstock Anniversary celebration, "A Day In The Garden," in 1999.

For over three decades, Richie has used his music to convey messages of brotherhood and personal freedom. With more than twenty-five albums released and a touring schedule that would kill many a younger man, he continues to view his calling as a higher one. As he told The Denver Post, "I really sing songs that move me. I’m not in show business, I’m in the communications business. That’s what it’s about for me."

Born in Brooklyn, Richard P. Havens was the eldest of nine children. At an early age, he began organizing his neighborhood friends into street corner doo-wop groups, and was performing with The McCrea Gospel Singers at 16. At the age of 20, Richie left Brooklyn to seek out the artistic stimulation of Greenwich Village. "I saw the Village as a place to escape to in order to express yourself,” he recalls. "I had first gone there during the beatnik days of the 1950’s to perform poetry, then I drew portraits for 2 years and stayed up all night listening to folk music in the clubs. It took awhile before I thought of picking up a guitar." Nina Simone was a key vocal influence early on, and Fred Neil and Dino Valenti were among the folksingers who had an impact on Richie during this period.

Richie’s reputation as a solo performer soon spread beyond the Village folk circles. He recorded two albums worth of demos for Douglas International in 1965 and ’66, though none of the tracks were released until his first two albums caused a stir. After joining forces with legendary manager Albert Grossman, Richie landed his first record deal with the Verve label, which released Mixed Bag in 1967. This auspicious debut album featured standout tracks like "Handsome Johnny" (co-written by Richie and future Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett , Jr.), "Follow,” and the striking version of Bob Dylan’s "Just Like A Woman" that earned him the reputation of being a premier interpreter of Dylan’s material.

Something Else Again (1968) became Richie’s first album to hit the Billboard chart, and also pulled Mixed Bag onto the charts. That same year, Douglas International added (unapproved) instrumental tracks to his old demos and released two albums, Richie Havens’ Record and Electric Havens. Less than a year later, Richie’s first coproduction, the two-disc Richard P. Havens, 1983 (Verve 1969), gave fans a taste of his exciting live sound.

It was, in fact, as a live performer that Richie first earned widespread notice. By decade’s end, he was in great demand in colleges across the country, as well as on the international folk and pop festival circuit. Richie played the 1966 Newport Folk Festival, the 1967 Monterey Jazz Festival, the 1968 Miami Pop Festival, the 1969 Woodstock Festival, the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival, and the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970.

Richie’s Woodstock appearance proved to be a major turning point in his career. As the festival’s first performer, he held the crowd spellbound for nearly three hours, called back for encore after encore. Having run out of tunes, he improvised a song based on the old spiritual "Motherless Child" that became "Freedom,” a song now considered to be the anthem of a generation. The subsequent movie release helped Richie reach a worldwide audience of millions...


"Trouble in Mind"
Richie Havens - vocals, guitar
Walter Parks - guitar
Mark Braud - trumpet
Charlie Gabriel - clarinet
Clint Maedgen - tenor sax
Freddie Lonzo - trombone
Carl LeBlanc - banjo
Walter Payton - string bass
"9th Ward" Joe Lastie - drums

as performed by



DHL said...

Can't wait to hear this recording!!

Colleen Newvine Tebeau said...

I didn't know a thing about Richie Havens the first time I saw him -- my boyfriend got tickets to see some guy who played Woodstock and I was along for the ride.

I was totally hypnotized. Richie is like a shaman, dressed in a long flowing robe and loaded with rings, singing songs that are loaded with power and beauty.

Now that boyfriend is my husband and we've seen Richie several more times. I'm so excited to see him at Jazz Fest this spring!

d-tek said...

Wow! Richie Havens AND Charlie Gabriel! That's power and lyricism.