Yesterday saw the passing of Richie Havens, a true legend. I first came across Ritchie when I was 18 years old at a late night screening of the film Woodstock at the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley. If you've ever seen the film, you'll know there is some fantastic music in the film as well as a lot of dross. Richie Havens opened the festival and the film. At the time I didn't know the story, but all of the other acts turned up late, so he had to busk for a couple of hours. The track "Freedom" was one of the songs he busked. The reason I didn 't know is because it was a mindblowing performance, so full of intensity and passion. At the time I was a punk, so for a blok strumming an acoustic guitar to blow me away was a measure of the power of his performance. I don't think I've ever seen a more powerful piece of acoustic music ever.
The last time I saw Richie was at the jazz Cafe a couple of years ago. He was older, wiser and more gentle in his manner, but his music was mindblowing. After the show I bought a few CD's he was selling and ended up having a chat with him. He was a gent. I wanted to get him to play the Mill Hill Music Festival this year, but we couldn't make it happen.
My guess is that if you don't like Richie Havens, you probably don't like music
RIP Richie, Good luck at the big festival up in the sky !