Search - Richie Havens :: Best of

Best of
Richie Havens
Best of
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1

Richie Havens in his prime possessed an uncanny knack for inhabiting familiar songs as if they were his hometown. He practically hijacked "Here Comes the Sun" out from under George Harrison, turning his 1971 version of the...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Richie Havens
Title: Best of
Members Wishing: 10
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino / Wea
Original Release Date: 4/6/1993
Release Date: 4/6/1993
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock
Styles: Traditional Folk, Contemporary Folk, Singer-Songwriters, Oldies, Folk Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 081227118723

Richie Havens in his prime possessed an uncanny knack for inhabiting familiar songs as if they were his hometown. He practically hijacked "Here Comes the Sun" out from under George Harrison, turning his 1971 version of the Abby Road tune into a rhythmic statement all his own and, in the process, charting for the one and only time in his career. That's true to a lesser degree with Lennon-McCartney's "Rocky Raccoon," Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman," and Fred Neil's "Dolphins," all of which are found on this 17-track anthology culled from the New York City singer-guitarist's late 1960s and early 1970s records. Havens penned a few songs of his own, notably the antiwar song "Handsome Johnny" (cowritten with actor Lou Gossett), and adapted others in his own inimitable style ("Run Shaker Life," "Freedom," his Woodstock-inspired variation on "Motherless Child"). But he made his mark as an interpreter--one whose work holds up admirably, judging by this focused retrospective. --Steven Stolder

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CD Reviews

He's got the job;whatever job he wants.
(5 out of 5 stars)

"He's got the job; whatever job he wants.Richie Haven's "Resume" is simply a masterpiece.He may be the foremost interpreter of song of our lifetime.On this recording, Havens covers everyone from Billie Holiday to Bob Dylan to Fred Neil to Dino Valenti. And he does so with relish.He also demonstrates himself a fine songwriter in his own right with songs like "Freedom" (spontaneously written at Woodstock), "Handsome Johnny", "Younger Men Grow Older" and "Minstrel from the Gault". Havens co-wrote "Handsome Johnny" with Louis Gossett, Jr. Yes, that Louis Gossett, Jr. The latter two songs were co-written with Mark Roth.I bought this in cassette form in Edmonton while visiting my younger brother. I had seen Havens a month earlier in Toronto and would seem him perform again in Ottawa a month later. After his set at the Ottawa Bluesfest, Havens signed autographs for over two hours including this cassette.What amazed me were the number of young teenagers who had never heard of him before that day stand in line and patiently wait for him to sign their autographs. Never an easy crowd to impress.A friend of mine told me that songs like "Freedom" and "Handsome Johnny" (and for that matter "Minstrel from the Gault") should become regular fare at dance clubs. My friend explained the combination of his unique voice, message of peace and his open fret rhythmic guitar stylings would be a winning combination and would flood people to the dance floor. Don't need to dancify it. It's ready to dance, now.My favourite song on this recording, is "God Bless the Child". The version of this Billie Holiday classic with which I am most familiar is that done by Blood, Sweat and Tears off their 1969 Grammy winning album titled,"Blood, Sweat and Tears".Their version, like most of their other songs, is heavily orchestrated and arranged with the progressive jazz and rock in vogue at the time. When hearing BST's version you get the sense the narrator has taken a beating but is ready to go on fighting another day.Havens' version is the complete antithesis of BST and I say "Bravo". Unlike, BST, Havens is completely on his own with only his voice and his rhythm guitar. Yet his minimalist approach works. Less is more. Indeed, Havens' version is much more powerful than BST's. The clarity of his voice and guitar convey a heartbreaking sense ofdefeat and desperation for the narrator but with the faintest sense of hope, but hope nonetheless, for the coming generation.It is a shame that Richie Havens' material is not more widely available. If it were people would buy it. Resume (and all of his other material) should be in every record store in the world."
Pure energy
Babytoxie | Dallas, TX USA | 04/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a heck of an investment: 17 songs by one of the most powerful voices in music. Richie Havens has more force in his voice and accompanying guitar than most full bands. He's lightly-backed, if at all - usually just a bass or conga drums, anything more would be pushing it for most of the songs. Plus, that makes it all the better to hear his emotion and raw power. He has the amazing ability to take other's songs and strip them down into works that are undeniably his. Ovewrall, a very well-produced CD - clear sound, good liner notes, and an excellent selection of songs. Check it out!"
Absolutely Awesome!
Babytoxie | 10/21/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What an interpreter! Not many musicians can tell a story better than Richie Havens; his style is completely unique. The Klan is incredibly haunting; Morning, Morning delicately beautiful. Handsome Johnny and Just Like a Woman are exquisite. A must-have for anyone's music collection."