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Customer Review

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to Richie Havens, 9 Aug. 2004
This review is from: Mixed Bag (Audio CD)
Richie Havens has found a whole new audience for his intense, emotional vocal style thanks to his collaborations with the likes of Groove Armada and subsequent solo live appearances. In the seventies he owed his major popularity to his inclusion in the film of the 1969 Woodstock festival, for which he opened and had to fill for over an hour, eventually improvising what became his own anthem, Freedom.
Before that he had been known to the cognoscenti from his influential Greenwich Village jazz-folk-rock interpretations of diverse material, using his unusual self-taught D-chord guitar tunings (not E-chord as is often written), and for his idiosyncratic song compositions. Although not a prolific writer, the original songs which peppered his albums became cult items to be picked up and recorded by other artists.
Somebody at Marmalade Records in the UK must have liked him because Blossom Toes recorded the quirky Just Above My Hobby Horse's Head and Julie Driscoll covered Indian Rope Man. Bob Marley later adapted the same song as African Herbsman. The Jefferson Airplane covered High Flying Bird from this album, although written by Billy Edd Wheeler.
Mixed Bag was his third album but the first for Verve Folkways and serves as a good introduction to his work. It contains the single I Can't Make It Anymore (written by Gordon Lightfoot) and his own Handsome Johnny. He transforms Jesse Fuller's San Francisco Bay Blues by slowing it down and performing it as a jazz rather than blues standard. The lengthy centre-piece Follow has a stately dignity and was later used in the films The War and A Walk On The Moon, and there are also passionate and timeless renditions of Eleanor Rigby and Just Like A Woman performed in his own inimitable style
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