Richie Havens (guitar/harmonica/vocals) established himself as a formidable folkie during the 1960s Greenwich Village scene. This was prior to becoming a household name after a career-defining appearance at the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. After releasing seven acclaimed long-players on his own Stormy Forest label, a series of business maneuvers led to Havens' next two platters being issued on A&M Records. The contents of those discs, The End of the Beginning (1976) and Mirage (1977) make up the bulk of Dreaming as One: The A&M Years, a limited-edition anthology from Hip-O Select. Although his distinct musical vision remains, the artist has integrated new sonic textures to a matured style, expanding significantly upon the primarily acoustic instrumentation of Havens' earlier efforts. His trademark arrangements are as organic and emotive as ever, particularly notable on the updates of 10cc's noir "I'm Not in Love," the funky take of Steely Dan's "Do It Again," or the four-on-the-floor driving the remakes of the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running" and Van Morrison's "Wild Night." Havens' electric ensemble was undeniably modern, yet the respective interpretations provide an uncomplicated backing. In that respect, The End of the Beginning featured Steve Cropper (guitar), Booker T. Jones (keyboards), Donald "Duck" Dunn (bass) and suitably Jeff Baxter (pedal steel/side guitar) , who was a one-time member of Steely Dan and the Doobies. Havens' capacity for lyrical and evocative balladry is likewise evident on the title composition to this compilation, "Dreaming as One," as well as "Shadows of the Past" and the upbeat and perhaps prophetic "Nobody Left to Crown." In addition to both albums the 'edited single version' of "I'm Not in Love" is included, wrapping up what is an exceptional anthology of Havens' short stint at A&M.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer