From London daily The Morning Star:
The last hippy
(Friday 12 January 2007)
LIVE: Richie Havens
Camden Jazz Cafe, London
MARK WAGER is glad that Woodstock legend Richie Havens is still a shining beacon of hope and optimism in dark times.
Gather around children, because Grandpa is going to tell you a few stories. Stories from a time when idealism courted realism, when peace was to overthrow the authorities and the world was ripe for change.
Sadly, the world never did change and we face the same issues today as were present 40 years ago, but Richie Havens continues to carry the word as impassioned today as he was when he stole the show at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969.
Legend has it that, during the festival, Havens left the audience spellbound for over three hours, returning for encore after encore.
Some say that it’s because the audience wouldn’t let him leave the stage, others suggest that it was because the rest of the musicians were stuck in traffic.
But, as John Ford said, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
And this legend provided a rendition of Motherless Child, later renamed Freedom, that would become the anthem of a generation and a height that Richie Havens has sailed ever since.
When the hippy generation transgressed into the me generation and many of his peers turned ugly through a combination of ego, drug addiction and stadium rock, Havens hit the road.
And he has been touring ever since, his light shining through, immersing audiences in his positive glow and vibes of mutual respect.