FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Freed by Richie Havens

My father spent 26 years as Vice President of a family owned manufacturing company in Saratoga Springs, NY.  He hired many people during the 1960’s, worked with and befriended many of them.  It was through them he came to possess a number of albums that would form the basis of my musical education.

The very, very first albums I remember listening to over and over again were Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” and Richie Haven’s “Mixed Bag”.

Looking back 50 years, I can hardly think of two more important works I might have stumbled into.

I don’t know how many dozens and dozens of times I set the needle down on the outside edge of those vinyl discs.  But I still hear them in my head as I heard them then, coming warmly through these big, expensive speakers powered by the orange analog lights of a vacuum tube impregnated motherboard I had not the slightest curiosity about.

An admission that saddens me somehow, but the music.  The music!  It bore down deep into my soul and stayed there forever.

Richie Havens freed me in a way that I would not truly know or have any conscious appreciation for until I was in my 50’s.  He was in the cell with me all along and helped blow the bars open wide from the inside out.

As I listen with new ears to him sing “Freedom” at Woodstock, a completely improvised piece from the soul of a musician out of material, thrust by an accident of history into the role of opening act before a crowd of 400,000 on a hot afternoon in a soaking wet orange dishiki.  He just started strumming his instrument in that propulsive, rhythmic way only he could and just chanted the word “freedom” over and over until it started to sink into the crowd’s unified consciousness.  Then he welded it to the verses of an old spiritual that could not have, in the history of the world, ever been more appropriate.  I listen to it now and it moves me to tears.

We have spoken about the narrow, truncated view of the discriminating ego mind versus the heart and only the heart’s ability to build with patience and understanding the compassion necessary to perceive and embrace the whole in its inextricably interrelated, interdependent unified beauty – the oneness.

That’s the place, the heart, that proper art comes from.  In whatever form it takes, it is always a door that invites one through to experience something truly transcendent.

Richie Havens was one of those artists who had that gift, that ability to see both the path of the discriminating mind and the world it has wrought and the way of the heart.  And with his heart he said come this way, give me your hand, follow me.

Thank you brother.  Thank you.  You’ve traveled a long, long way.  Welcome home.  Rest now.  Rest easy.

Anthony Tarrant is a writer and toils for healthcare in the retail fashion industry.  He can be reached at anthonytarrant2@gmail.com.

 

More articles by:
July 13, 2020
Gerald Sussman
The Russiagate Spectacle: Season 2?
Ishmael Reed
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Perry Mason Moment
Jack Rasmus
Why the 3rd Quarter US Economic ‘Rebound’ Will Falter
W. T. Whitney
Oil Comes First in Peru, Not Coronavirus Danger, Not Indigenous Rights
Ralph Nader
The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation
Raghav Kaushik – Arun Gupta
On Coronavirus and the Anti-Police-Brutality Uprising
Deborah James
Digital Trade Rules: a Disastrous New Constitution for the Global Economy Written by and for Big Tech
Howard Lisnoff
Remembering the Nuclear Freeze Movement and Its Futility
Sam Pizzigati
Will the Biden-Sanders Economic Task Force Rattle the Rich?
Allen Baker
Trump’s Stance on Foreign College Students Digs US Economic Hole Even Deeper
Binoy Kampmark
The Coronavirus Seal: Victoria’s Borders Close
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Power, Knowledge and Virtue
Weekend Edition
July 10, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Lynnette Grey Bull
Trump’s Postcard to America From the Shrine of Hypocrisy
Anthony DiMaggio
Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism
David Yearsley
Morricone: Maestro of Music and Image
Jeffrey St. Clair
“I Could Live With That”: How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade
Rob Urie
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice
Paul Street
Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama
Vijay Prashad
The U.S. and UK are a Wrecking Ball Crew Against the Pillars of Internationalism
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums
Richard C. Gross
Trump: Reopen Schools (or Else)
Chris Krupp
Public Lands Under Widespread Attack During Pandemic 
Alda Facio
What Coronavirus Teaches Us About Inequality, Discrimination and the Importance of Caring
Eve Ottenberg
Bounty Tales
Andrew Levine
Silver Linings Ahead?
John Kendall Hawkins
FrankenBob: The Self-Made Dylan
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Deutsche Bank Fined $150 Million for Enabling Jeffrey Epstein; Where’s the Fine Against JPMorgan Chase?
David Rosen
Inequality and the End of the American Dream
Louis Proyect
Harper’s and the Great Cancel Culture Panic
Thom Hartmann
How Billionaires Get Away With Their Big Con
REZA FIYOUZAT
Your 19th COVID Breakdown
Danny Sjursen
Undercover Patriots: Trump, Tulsa, and the Rise of Military Dissent
Charles McKelvey
The Limitations of the New Antiracist Movement
Binoy Kampmark
Netanyahu’s Annexation Drive
Joseph G. Ramsey
An Empire in Points
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
COVID-19 Denialism is Rooted in the Settler Colonial Mindset
Ramzy Baroud
On Israel’s Bizarre Definitions: The West Bank is Already Annexed
Judith Deutsch
Handling Emergency: A Tale of Two Males
Michael Welton
Getting Back to Socialist Principles: Honneth’s Recipe
Dean Baker
Combating the Political Power of the Rich: Wealth Taxes and Seattle Election Vouchers
Jonah Raskin
Edward Sanders: Poetic Pacifist Up Next
Manuel García, Jr.
Carbon Dioxide Uptake by Vegetation After Emissions Shutoff “Now”
Heidi Peltier
The Camo Economy: How Military Contracting Hides Human Costs and Increases Inequality
Ron Jacobs
Strike!, Fifty Years and Counting
Ellen Taylor
The Dark Side of Science: Shooting Barred Owls as Scapegoats for the Ravages of Big Timber
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail