Monday, April 22, 2013

Richie Havens, 1941-2013

In the late Sixties there were three popular, influential black artists performing mainly for young white audiences: Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, Richie Havens. All three gave extraordinary performances at Woodstock, & all three became influential with other African-American musicians as well. They were all musically adventurous. Sly & Jimi were largely stage inventions; Sly a record producer & businessman, Jimi a brooding bluesman at heart.   Richie was Richie, the most accessible, shaped by  large family in Brooklyn  & the diverse, tolerant, politicized  Greenwich Village  of the Fifties & Sixties. His music  was  both gentle & ferocious. He had only one hit single, a cover of "Here Comes the Sun," but many songs are associated with him. I always liked this sitar-flavored folk-rock song from  a  studio/live double LP, released shortly before his Woodstock appearance made him really famous. He already had a solid following.  He stayed in for the long haul, which ended today.  

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How I loved him, back in the day. May he rest in peace.
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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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