Live At the Cellar Door and the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium by Richie Havens on Apple Music

12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Richie Havens' artistry is so organic and urgent in its nature that—despite having made some stellar studio recordings—he's often best represented by live performances. His iconic appearance at Woodstock is a perfect example, and so is this concert recording, capturing not only a 1970 set at Washington, D.C.'s storied Cellar Door but also some tunes from a 1972 show in Santa Monica, Calif. Havens had fully developed and defined his intense but free-flowing style by the early '70s. In this stripped-down setting (accompanied only by acoustic guitars, bass, and percussion), he's in peak form. Of course, the key to Havens' success had always been his interpretive powers, and toward that end, he reinvents both the hits of the era (The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," James Taylor's "Fire and Rain") and standards like "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" and "God Bless the Child," leaning into each with his soulful, gravelly tones and über-rhythmic, rapid-fire acoustic strumming. Along the way, his endearingly hippie-ish stage patter adds some engaging period flavor.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Richie Havens' artistry is so organic and urgent in its nature that—despite having made some stellar studio recordings—he's often best represented by live performances. His iconic appearance at Woodstock is a perfect example, and so is this concert recording, capturing not only a 1970 set at Washington, D.C.'s storied Cellar Door but also some tunes from a 1972 show in Santa Monica, Calif. Havens had fully developed and defined his intense but free-flowing style by the early '70s. In this stripped-down setting (accompanied only by acoustic guitars, bass, and percussion), he's in peak form. Of course, the key to Havens' success had always been his interpretive powers, and toward that end, he reinvents both the hits of the era (The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," James Taylor's "Fire and Rain") and standards like "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" and "God Bless the Child," leaning into each with his soulful, gravelly tones and über-rhythmic, rapid-fire acoustic strumming. Along the way, his endearingly hippie-ish stage patter adds some engaging period flavor.

TITLE TIME
5:44
3:46
6:43
5:23
4:14
5:59
1:47
4:13
5:55
3:44
5:28
9:42

About Richie Havens

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 albums that gained him a local following. In 1967, the Verve division of MGM Records formed a folk section (Verve Forecast) and signed Havens and other folk-based performers. The result was Havens' third album, Mixed Bag. It wasn't until 1968 and the Something Else Again album, however, that Havens began to hit the charts -- actually, Havens' fourth, third, and second albums charted that year, in that order. In 1969 came the double album Richard P. Havens 1983.

Havens' career benefited enormously from his appearance at the Woodstock festival in 1969 and his subsequent featured role in the movie and album made from the concert in 1970. His first album after that exposure, Alarm Clock, made the Top 30 and produced a Top 20 single in "Here Comes the Sun." These recordings were Havens' commercial high-water mark, but by this time he had become an international touring success. By the end of the '70s, he had abandoned recording and turned entirely to live work. Havens came back to records with a flurry of releases in 1987: a new album, Simple Things; an album of Bob Dylan and Beatles covers; and a compilation. In 1991, Havens signed his first major-label deal in 15 years when he moved to Sony Music and released Now. Nobody Left to Crown was issued by Verve Forecast in 2008. Havens died of a heart attack at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey in April 2013; he was 72 years old. ~ William Ruhlmann

  • ORIGIN
    Brooklyn, NY
  • BORN
    Jan 21, 1941

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