I met Richie after one of his rare concerts in England not long before he passed away. A moment in his company confirms his humility,his love of his fellow travellers on earth and his concern for us all. This album stands out as a tribute to all that I have said. It is equal to any of his earlier albums and head a shoulders above later ones. Lyrically this is appropriate for any time but more so now with the current troubles of the world. Musically it is faultless, as is the production. Richie Havens at his best.
To be honest I had not listened to Richie for a while and it was his sad passing that made me revisit his music. I am not familiar with much of his work, other than the usual well known songs, so this was a slight gamble based on other customer reviews. All I can say is that it surpassed my expectations by some distance! The album is wonderful, brilliant guitar playing and moving, spiritual lyrics delivered in a way which reflects his warmth and mature outlook honed by the length of time he has been performing. No need to pick out specific tracks, there is no filler, For those with ears to hear, give it a listen.
It`s hard to believe Richie Havens is no more. I`m typing this a few days after his death at 72 of a heart attack - such a great heart too. His music will live, and the memories of those lucky enough to have seen or met him. This 2002 album is a touch more pensive than many of his earlier records, with a restrained feel to Richie`s singing and playing, though losing none of his trademark intensity, a prowling, growling rhythmic quality to his voice and guitar that was still very much in evidence on this lovely recording. It comes with an excellent booklet, with some evocative photos - one or two of long tall Richie (he was 6`6" apparently!) - and most of the songs` lyrics. The expressive, compassionate Handouts in the Rain is a wonderful self-composed song, as is the superb title track. The last track is an unexpected but most welcome eight-minute cover of Pink Floyd`s On the Turning Away, co-written by David Gilmour. The song suits Richie down to the ground, the ethereal bamboo flute accompaniment of Steve Gorn as haunting as could be. Alone Together is a deceptively simple ballad, while Stardust & Passion, another Havens song, though musically jaunty, contains the lines:
Somewhere on the outside is our passion Somewhere deep inside we know the truth Somewhere on the inside we are crashing Trying to find love from a telephone booth
Somewhere in the dark there is a lover Somehere in the night a woman shines
Passion is not older than stardust Love is not younger than hate...
Richie Havens was a rare voice of integrity in a world of ever more hectic instant gratification. He made music to live with and fall in love with. This is a beautiful set of songs by a unique lone wolf, with a big heart, as well as a timeless, ancient voice. He was as tall as a mountain, his voice as deep as the earth. Listen.
This has to be Richie Havens' finest work since the 70's. If you liked the classic early albums like "Stonehenge" and "Richard P. Havens 1983", this one's for you! A much-welcomed return to the mystical and innovative instrumentation so present in his older albums. "Wishing Well" also mainly features songs written by Havens himself (something we haven't seen in years), and what wonderful songs they are. "The Well", "Handouts In The Rain" and "Stardust & Passion" prove to be standout tunes, alongside "Paradise" and "On The Turning Away" (two songs fans of his live shows have long been waiting for). An added bonus is the beautiful cd booklet. Though it's been too many years since he released a new studio album, it's rewarding to see how much thought and care went into giving us one this profound. You will not be disappointed!! Thank you Richie!!
Beautiful guitar and vocals with a perfect blend of background musicians. "Handouts in the Rain" is one of the most touching songs Richie has ever written. When you listen to "Wishing Well", you will wish there were more artists who pour as much heart into their work as Richie Havens does!
The famous guitar playing is still there, but this is different and better than others he has done. It is as if he has found a new lease of life. All the tracks are very calming and the final track which last 10 minutes could be used for relaxation in Yoga. Age has not diminished this star only improved him. If you liked Havens in the past you will love this CD. Well done to him.