Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Andy Highlights Richie Havens for Black History Month

Andy: I want to highlight Richie Havens for Black History Month. He's an incredible musician and a strong activist for peace, civil rights and the environment.

Outside of that, what stands out to me?

His music.

Borrowed for the time, the life we share is a sacred right,
Choosing, we may find we're on the road and there are no signs.
And we say we love and we say we care
And we say we know and we say we're there
If we live our hates and we fight our wars,
And we burn our towns, what is going down?

That's from "Just Above My Hobby Horse's Head" and he wrote it with Mark Roth.

This is from "There's a Hole In The Future"

Like a hole that’s waiting in the future, Mona
Already be filled when we get there
There’s a hole that’s waiting in the future, Mona
It’s already be filled when we get there
It could already be filled when we get there
It could already be filled when we get there

He became a noted folk singer in the sixties and then performances at the Isle of Wright and Woodstock carried him onto a higher level of fame. He is known for his guitar playing and he plays with open tuning (I'm trying to learn that right now). He is also known for his inspired interpretations of songs written by others. (You can hear him singing in the movie Coming Home.)

Laura Flanders had him on her show and his latest CD Grace of the Sun came out this summer and I'm urging everyone to give it a listen. There's an honesty and lived in quality about his work that really speaks to me and I think he's one of our most valued musical assets and that's he's always had something to say and found a way to say it that entertains as well as educates.

My two all time favorite CDS by him made Kat's Korner's list, Richard P. Havens, 1983 and Alarm Clock.

My favorite quote from him is on page 300 of his book They Can't Hide Us Anymore:

"We must write our own history as we go forward and make sure that it is handed down to the next generations. The youth must take it upon themselves to build upon the foundation and pick up the slack we leave them."

I'm 23 years old and it was this book that turned me on to his music. I think there's a lot of value in his work and he's right up there with the Black Eyed Peas for musicians that move my soul. In a world of chaos and disorder, putting on his music calms and centers me. I don't think I could have gotten through the last few years without his music.