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Author Topic: Ritchie Havens @ The Bitter End in NYC  (Read 884 times)
Acoustickler
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« on: April 24, 2006, 10:57:16 PM »

Had the pure pleasure to see Ritchie Havens this weekend at The Bitter End in the Village in NYC.  What a performance!

For those who don't know, Havens is now 65 years old.  He is a folk legend, having come up with Dylan and the likes.  He was the first performer onstage at Woodstock in 1969.

Havens has an unusual playing style.  He describes it as open D tuning (D-A-D-F#-A-D), with the strange addition that he plays his chords with his thumb over fretting most of the notes (barre).  Havens has been playing and endorsing Guild guitars for decades.  Not sure if it was the Guild's fault, (I'm personally not a Guild fan) but Havens had to tune after every single song in the set.

Back to the show...it was remarkable.  I arrived 35 minutes before the doors opened to this general admission show, and was the third person in line!!!  I got the seat right in front of Havens...we're talking 2 feet away.  Talk about history and significance...sitting in The Bitter End listening to Ritchie Havens sing and play All Along the Watchtower (which he told us he learned from a cassette Bob Dylan gave him...and he later wrote it out by hand for Jimi Hendrix, who had heard Havens play it...)  Unreal.  Havens' voice at this stage of his life is so deep, soulful and imbued with tone - one lady seated near me cried during one of the ballads.

Check out his website - it is really fascinating!  Count me as a new fan.

Cheers,
B.
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Randy_R
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2006, 11:04:49 PM »

It bet it was a fun show...

I've got an old Guild with the Richie Havens pickguards on it.. (heh heh)

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Randy R., Georgia, USA
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dberch
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2006, 12:04:36 AM »

Great report, B.  I've been a fan of Ritchie Havens for ever.  Alway thought he and Ray Charles had the best voices in the Universe.
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So many songs - so little time...
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Acoustickler
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2006, 12:15:03 AM »

Alway thought he and Ray Charles had the best voices in the Universe.

I can fully understand why you love those voices!

Cheers,
B.
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1998 Larrivee D-10 (Brazilian RW/Sitka)
1999 Froggy Bottom F Deluxe (Koa/Adirondack)
2003 Martin D-17 (All Mahogany)
1996 Fender USA Strat Plus
1967 Hofner President
2001 Dean USA Time Capsule V #17/50 (Cherry Sunburst)
1978 Music Man 112-65
Mesa 50 50
Rivera 212
Tycho
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2006, 12:40:33 AM »

His performance of "Handsome Johnny" in the Woodstock movie made a big impression on me when I was 13.

Also, somebody who had seen the movie before I did had mentioned his thumb technique, so I took special notice of that.  I had just started playing guitar, and it hadn't occurred to me that you could do such a thing!  I immediately tried it out after seeing the movie. 
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...and several other guitars.
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