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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Richie Havens

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This 20th Century Masters compilation both introduces and celebrates the most notable songs recorded by the late, great Richie Havens. Although he was a legendary American folk-rock singer/songwriter, guitarist, and socio-political activist, Havens is most known for being the first musician to open the historic 1969 Woodstock Music festival. Of course many of the songs he played that day are here, including “High Flyin’ Bird,” “Handsome Johnny,” “From the Prison," and a bookending cover of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever.” He also covers The Fab Four’s “Lady Madonna,” giving the tune his own earthy rhythm and fatherly voice. Havens pays homage to the Barbary Coast with a groovy take on Jesse Fuller’s “San Francisco Bay Blues” that plays with the smooth, rootsy stroll of a Tim Hardin recording. It would've been easy for Havens to stick close to the original blueprint of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman,” but instead he softens up the approach with a slower tempo and lilting piano notes. “Indian Rope Man” is Havens’ most rocking original here.

Customer Reviews

Music that has always stayed with me!

follow... has always followed with me let the river rock you like a cradle climb to the tree tops child if you are able let your hands tie a knot across the table... and close your finger tips and fly where i can't hold you ... and maybe you can sing to me Richie Havens is an amazing human being... a peaceful spiritual man who's music has infused my life for decades now

As Good As It Gets!

Richie Havens is as good as it gets. This album is just a taste, but he is the real deal. He's mainly known for the opening of Woodstock with "Freedom", and for his gigantic cover of George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun", which as good as George was, has become pretty much the definitive version of that song. Most of the music on this album doesn't have much backup - maybe just a bass guitar. He doesn't need it. His voice and guitar playing ability are so powerful, nothing else is necessary.

Richie has my soul

I discovered Richie's sound and soul the first time I heard him in the 60s at the EVO (you old college dudes will know what that is). Saw him at Seton Hall, several times at the Fillmore East, and other venues in the NY-NJ area. Missed him at Woodstock due to illness, but loved his music all my life, performed much of it myself locally, loved his guitar playing style - use it myself often. I could sit and listen to this compilation for hours, except that there are so many more of his tunes on other discs that would go wanting. Follow is the best - my wife always asks me to play it for her. She actually transcribed it for me the first time. His soul is beautiful and his songs make mine feel in tune with heaven and the universe. Richie is best caught at small local venues, such as the "Sanctuary Concert" series that are done all over the country. Intimate contact (musically that is) is the most satisfying of all for any lover or performer of these songs.


Born: January 21, 1941 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, Richie Havens moved to Greenwich Village in 1961 in time to get in on the folk boom then taking place. Havens had a distinctive style as a folksinger, appearing in such clubs as the Cafe Wha? His guitar set to an opening tuning, he would strum it while barring chords with his thumb, using it essentially as percussion while singing rhythmically in a gruff voice for a mesmerizing effect. Havens was signed to Douglas Records in 1965 and recorded two...
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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Richie Havens, Richie Havens
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