Richie Havens

Richie Havens

Biography

Richie Havens is a master of bringing together rich melodies, powerful lyrics, pre-punk acoustic guitar and a touch of jazziness for a liberating aural experience. Combining Bob Dylan's lyrical skills with an earthy vocal prowess, Havens reaches near-orgasmic heights in each energetic composition. His 1967 outing Mixed Bag best exhibits the duality of Havens' playing: on the one hand, you have sunshine-filled jazzy folk such as "Morning, Morning"; on the other hand you've got electrically charged pieces such as "High Flying Bird." The high point of Havens' long career remains his electrifying performance at Woodstock, where he equaled the mighty roar of Hendrix's screaming Fender Stratocaster with his deep, growling vocals and vigorous, finger shredding acoustic guitar strumming. The low point might be his Amtrak commercials a few years ago, but we forgive him -- it's not easy making a living as a folk guitarist.

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