I had this on LP when it was new and it's remained a favourite ever since. No-one could ever doubt Richie's total devotion, enthusiasm, immersion in his music. True, he only really had one musical idea, but his delivery is mesmeric and endlessly intriguing. Herein are not only THE best versions of Strawberry Fields Forever, I Pity the Poor Immigrant, Lady Madonna & She's Leaving Home (not With a Little Help...Joe Cocker did that!), but also one of my fave songs by anyone - Indian Rope Man. I was fortunate to see Richie in concert again not long before he died, finishing with the traditional mid-air somersault still and no less engaged to be playing to 200 people than he was some 40 years before at Woodstock. Yes, these tracks could stand remastering, I guess, but maybe no...I love the sound. Nice to get the bonus tracks, too.
Although this 1969 double LP first became available on CD in 1990, I've only just got round to treating myself to a copy. I've really been enjoying the journey back in time to those heady days when the summers were long and the air was filled with the sweet smell of 'substances'!
If your only knowledge of Havens is from his performances at the Woodstock and Isle of Wight Festivals of 1969, then you'll love this album as I do. He had a unique way of playing guitar, seeming to play chords with his thumb, rather than using recognisable chord shapes, and his vocal delivery was so full of passion and sentiment .. wonderful. Immerse yourself, you won't be disappointed.
For whatever the reason, this album has not (never?) been available on CD and good condition vinyl copies can change hands for silly money. Now, in all its' glory 'Richard P. Havens, 1983' can be yours. This is not just for the Woodstock generation (although if you've seen the movie you might recall the manic Richie Havens riffing on his acoustic as if his very life depended on it). An album of contrasting songs: Beatles covers running alongside his own material, it shouldn't work but it does. Havens' reputation as an interpreter of others' songs is well earned here. But it is his own music that really cuts it: Indian Rope Man, Just Above My Hobby Horse's Head, Putting Out The Vibration being prime examples of a man at the height of his passion! If he was an up and coming musician of current times Havens would be at the forefront of the new folk generation. Once you've got this album under your belt you really should get 'Wishing Well' by Havens. Recorded some 23 years later - an album of staggering beauty.
This is all on 'High flyin' bird: the Verve years', but for $150 (on Amazon.com) as I write. This is an unspeakably lovely album and very little of it is available on other collections - notably 'Parable of Ramon', 'what more can I say, John', 'Stop pulling and pushing me' and 'putting out the vibration...' are absolutely essential and unavailable except on the aforementioned one copy of 'High flyin' bird' at $150. I remember Richie Havens created a big splash at Woodstock, and has always been well thought of and had a loyal following - 'Mixed Bag' seemed to be the album most people knew, but 1983 was my favourite. This is a real classic, and it is disgraceful that it is not available.
This is an album I bought when it came out, unfortunately in 1973 on leaving university it was lost/stolen/forgotten. I have tried to find a copy for over twenty years as it was probably my favourite. At last on Amazon I managed to buy the CD and it is still as good, Havens fans will get the full experience from this one album. Still fresh, if only todays artists were half as good.