Monday, April 22, 2013

Ritchie Havens

So sorry that the world has lost Ritchie Havens. He was an icon of the music festivals of the 1960s (where I saw him quite a few times), and if you've seen the movie "Woodstock" you must have been moved by his "Freedom." He was sooo wonderful. He wrote many songs, but was also a master of the cover song, he would make a song his own. We both got to see him as recently as 2003, during SXSW he played an official showcase at the Cedar Street Courtyard where we watched him from a few feet away on a warm night. This is probably my favorite listen from Ritchie Havens, "Follow."

Words by Jerry Merrick

Let the river rock you like a cradle
Climb to the treetops, child, if you’re able
Let your hands tie a knot across the table.
Come and touch the things you cannot feel.
And close your fingertips and fly where I can’t hold you
Let the sun-rain fall and let the dewy clouds enfold you
And maybe you can sing to me the words I just told you,
If all the things you feel ain’t what they seem.
And don’t mind me 'cos I ain't nothin' but a dream.

The mocking bird sings each different song
Each song has wings - they won’t stay long.
Do those who hear think he's doing wrong?
While the church bell tolls its one-note song
And the school bell is tinkling to the throng.
Come here where your ears cannot hear.
And close your eyes, child, and listen to what I’ll tell you
Follow in the darkest night the sounds that may impel you
And the song that I am singing may disturb or serve to quell you
If all the sounds you hear ain’t what they seem,
Then don’t mind me ‘cos I ain’t nothin’ but a dream.

The rising smell of fresh-cut grass,
Smothered cities choke and yell with fuming gas;
I hold some grapes up to the sun
And their flavour breaks upon my tongue.
With eager tongues we taste our strife
And fill our lungs with seas of life.
Come taste and smell the waters of our time.
And close your lips, child, so softly I might kiss you,
Let your flower perfume out and let the winds caress you.
As I walk on through the garden, I am hoping I don’t miss you
If all the things you taste ain’t what they seem,
Then don’t mind me ‘cos I ain’t nothin’ but a dream.

The sun and moon both are right,
And we’ll see them soon through days of night
But now silver leaves on mirrors bring delight.
And the colours of your eyes are fiery bright,
While darkness blinds the skies with all its light.
Come see where your eyes cannot see.
And close your eyes, child, and look at what I’ll show you;
Let your mind go reeling out and let the breezes blow you,
Then maybe, when we meet, suddenly I will know you.
If all the things you see ain't what they seem,
Then don’t mind me ‘cos I ain’t nothin’ but a dream .
And you can follow; And you can follow; follow…


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yes, another one gone from the Woodstock generation . . . .


Shady Lane knew him back in the day when she lived in new york..she said he was a good person.

Professor Chaos said...

Oh man, I hadn't heard he had passed away. That's a real shame.