Richie Havens

High Flyin' Bird: The Verve Forecast Years

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This two-disc collection gathers Richie Havens' (guitar/sitar/vocals) long-players Mixed Bag (1967), Something Else Again (1968) and Richard P. Havens, 1983 (1969), plus the single-only "I've Gotta Go," all of which hail from his brief stint with Verve\Forecast Records. Although Havens had already established himself as a formidable talent prior to participating in the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, it was undeniably his extended opening set that solidified his stature as a folk icon. In addition to providing the seminal self-penned entries "Adam," "Inside of Him" and "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed," the artist co-wrote "Handsome Johnny" -- with help from burgeoning actor Lou Gossett Jr. -- "Something Else Again" and "New City" with producer John Court. He also penned "Indian Rope Man," "Putting Out the Vibrations and Hoping It Comes Home," as well as "The Parable of Ramon" and "Just Above My Hobby Horse's Head" alongside Mark Roth. Havens likewise draws upon an eclectic blend of folk and rock covers. His Greenwich Village roots were almost certainly the source for definitive versions of Tuli Kupferberg's "Morning, Morning," Leonard Cohen's "Priests," Gordon Lightfoot's "I Can't Make It Anymore" and the Bob Dylan titles "Just Like a Woman," "Maggie's Farm" and "I Pity the Poor Immigrant." Havens' affinity for the Beatles is evident within his interpretations of the social commentaries "Lady Madonna," "She's Leaving Home," "Eleanor Rigby" and "With a Little Help From My Friends." The digital remastering is especially brilliant on the live recordings from the Santa Monica Civic Center that were first included on Richard P. Havens, 1983 -- in particular the traditional reworkings of "Run Shaker Life," "Do You Feel Good?" and Donovan's "Wear Your Love Like Heaven." The accompanying 24-page liner booklet is full of photos, reproductions of the original LP art, an historical essay from Scott Schinder, and complete personnel as well as discographical annotations.

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