Richie Havens (center) at
the Tupelo Music Hall with Singer/Songwriters
Dave Bastien and Susan Van Ham of
the band 'Second Union'.
Photo: Bruce Bressack
Music: Richie Havens,
bringing us "back to the garden"
And everywhere there was song and celebration...
I came upon a child of god last Sunday evening and
his name is Richie Havens. And for a brief time, the promise of peace and love
echoed in the Tupelo Music Hall.
Havens, the first
musician to play at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, received worldwide
recognition as a result of that fiery and soulful performance. His voice and
guitar-playing style are immediately recognizable and inimitable. As Greg
Greenway [the opener that night] put it, “Havens is the real, real deal”.
Havens is a master at
taking songs we’re all familiar with and making them his own. His rendition of
the song ‘Here Comes The Sun’ makes the original version by the Beatles sound
sophomoric and amateur. Sorry Fab Four.
And move over Bob Dylan,
Havens owns your song "Maggie’s Farm" now. You wrote it with great style and
imagination, and sang it like you meant it, but Havens plays it like he grew
up there and still has the dirt lodged under his fingernails.
When Havens played the
Joni Mitchell song ‘Woodstock’, I welled up with emotion and longed for a
different time and place. Not for a return to the “free love” and excesses of
the '60s but for the promise of peace that my generation failed to deliver to
My favorite Havens
story that night was about our government’s unending quest to “conquer space”.
He spoke of the billions of dollars spent each year on space
exploration and noted that, “Don’t they realize that the planet Earth is already
This is the reason we
desperately need artists like Havens – they constantly remind us all of the
Havens was much more than a musician/performer
that night. He was several levels, and light years, beyond that. He was a humble
spiritual leader — a Priest, a Brahman
reminding us that the world would be far,
far better off, if we all just took care of each other.
I know what you’re
thinking. “Corny, hippie crap”, right?
it what you will, but I’ll take a boat-load of hope and optimism anytime. Lest
we forget, peace is not a four letter word.
are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden"
Joni Mitchell, "Woodstock’" 1969
Greenway, opening act
weaved, he bobbed, he took it up the side and hit it “into-the-net”. The buzzer
went off, and every member of the audience stood up, at the exact same moment, and burst into
Bruins game you say?
it was at the end of Greg Greenway’s set at Tupelo last Sunday evening.
good news —
he’s coming back as a Headliner Friday, October 14th.
Don’t miss the show, unless you’re somehow averse to great singing, playing and
and seeing an entire audience, singing-in-unison the choruses of
songs they’re hearing for the first time.
For more information, or to purchase CDs, visit