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Mixed Bag

Richie Havens

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Album Review

Richie Havens' finest recording, Mixed Bag captures the essence of his music and presents it in an attractive package that has held up well. A close listen to lyrics like "I Can't Make It Anymore" and "Morning, Morning" reveals sadness and loneliness, yet the music is so appealingly positive that a listener actually comes away feeling uplifted. In fact, on most of the songs on this album, it's the sound of Havens' distinctive voice coupled with his unusual open-E guitar tuning, rather than the specific lyrical content of the songs, that pulls the listener in. The six-and-a-half minute "Follow" is structured like a Dylan composition in the "Hard Rain" mode, with its memorable verse-ending refrain, "Don't mind me 'cause I ain't nothin' but a dream." Both "Sandy" and "San Francisco Bay Blues" have a jazzy feel, while the aforementioned "I Can't Make It Anymore" would not have been out of place in a movie soundtrack or pop radio playlist of the time. "Handsome Johnny," one of Havens' best known songs as a result of the Woodstock film, is a classic anti-war ballad, stoked by the singer's unmistakable thumb-chorded guitar strumming. Mixed Bag winds up with a soulful cover of Dylan's "Just Like a Woman" and an electric piano-propelled take on the Lennon-McCartney classic, "Eleanor Rigby."

Customer Reviews

What a performance...! be sitting in the stereo room at Hofstra University back in the early 70's again. This album playing...people would stop their conversations and pay attention to the delivery of this master. The slight slurring of the lyrics (because Havens would take his teeth out to sing) didn't distract in the least and only gave it more character. Melodies that would bring tears to your eyes. No electronic wizardry, no special acoustic effects. Just talent, pure and simple. I suppose nostalgia makes this a special listening pleasure for me, but some of my young friends that weren't even alive in those days listen to these cuts and have to admit that there is something special about this album.

Mixed Bag

Watched a movie called "A Walk on the Moon" and Richie's song "Follow" played at the end. Moving. Realized I had no music of his except on album. Well the only thing to do is download everything he's done. A true sound and voice of America. Don't pass him up. He's the real thing. Mike Savage

Mixed Bag

This album was a significant crossover in 1969. It mixed jazz, rock and folk in a way that was not heard before. Listen to the clear words and crisp notes. The poetry of rock is expressed in the storytelling of folk in the meter of jazz. This is one of my classics.


Born: January 21, 1941 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

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

Distinctive folk singer Richie Havens recorded three albums before he hit the charts in 1968 with Something Else Again, but it was his appearance at the Woodstock festival in 1969 that enormously benefited his career. Havens' first album after that exposure, Alarm Clock, made the Top 30 and produced a Top 20 single in "Here Comes the Sun." He became an international touring success and, by the end of the '70s, had abandoned recording, turning entirely to live work. Simple Things ended Havens' studio...
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