RELEASE DATE: AVAILABLE NOW
CD edition limited to 3000 individually numbered copies.
Born in Brooklyn in January of 1941, Richie Havens grew up in the rough-and-tumble Bedford-Stuyvesant community, and as the eldest of nine children, he was used to working a crowd from his earliest days. His father played piano with a number of bands throughout the city, which may account for Richie’s innate talent. New York City was the nexus of the doo-wop movement, and Richie organized a number of street-corner singing groups in the Fifties. As the Fifties closed, though, the performer set his sights on the bohemian lure of Greenwich Village. Starting in the local clubs as a poetry performer, he also absorbed music from some of the greats who passed through that scene, including Nina Simone and Fred Neil. Emboldened by the opportunities for a distinctive voice in that environment, he began to accompany himself on guitar.
It wasn’t long before he was given a record contract, but even though he made a couple of albums with the Douglas label, neither was released until later in his career, when his celebrity was already firmly established. At this juncture, Albert Grossman, the legendary manager and founder of Bearsville Records came into Richie’s life and a second record deal ensued, this time with Verve’s Forecast imprint. Forecast was primarily a folk label, as opposed to the jazz and comedy releases for which its parent was more widely known.
Havens’ first record for the label, Mixed Bag, was released in 1967. A remarkable cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman” earned Havens his reputation as a leading interpreter of Dylan’s material, no mean feat at those times, when competition in the Dylan cover derby was robust. His next album, Something Else Again, became Havens` first charting album, and its success carried over to the previous record, which entered the charts at that time as well. At that point, Douglas decided to capitalize on Havens’ burgeoning reputation and released the two albums they had shelved earlier. By 1969, the year that would cement his international reputation as a consequence of his performance at Woodstock, Havens stepped into the producer’s chair, co-producing the double-disc Richard P. Havens, 1983, which gave fans their first exposure to his live sound. These first three discs may be experienced in their entirety, newly remastered and with notes from Scott Schinder, on High Flyin’ Bird: The Verve Forecast Years.
Havens continues to record and perform, and his most recent recording, Grace Of The Sun, is going to be released July 20th, 2004. For more information on this album and other of Havens’ current activities, please visit www.richiehavens.com.
Did You Know? In 1972, Richie Havens played in the stage version of the Who's rock opera Tommy.