Richie Havens Woodstock

Richie Havens Woodstock

It took 50 years for most people to hear all the music from the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.  The rumors were that It was out there. Boxed. Stored. Warehoused.

Bootlegs of much existed, but where were the originals? We even found out that some of the cuts on the original 3-disc album weren’t from Woodstock!

In 2005, producer Andy Zax found the  boxes. To use the word painstakingly is an understatement, but over the next 14 years Zax worked with the tapes and in 2019  Rhino Records released the 38-disc box entitled Woodstock – Back To The Garden:The Definitive 50th Anniversary ArchiveOther somewhat smaller offerings were also available.

Over that half century, The Woodstock Music and Art Fair had became an iconic event not just musically, but socially as well, and as with any historic event, the story often took on a life of its own. “Woodstock Haze” is a phrase alum Charlie Maloney coined to describe such inaccuracies.

Richie Havens Woodstock

Richie’s Set

One of the more famous Woodstock stories is that to avoid further delays the fretting and anxious Woodstock Ventures organizers coerced Richie Havens to open.

Havens stepped onto the stage accompanied by Paul “Deano” Williams and Danielle Ben Zebulon.

Richie’s recollection was always that after nearly 2 1/2 hours, singing every song he knew, he  left the stage in a state of sweat-soaked exhaustion. Sweat-soaked exhaustion? Yes. 2 1/2 hours no. 45 minutes.  Woodstock Haze.

Hello. How are you?

Before he began, the caring Richie speak to the crowd.

Hello. How are you? How are you in the back?  Can ‘ya hear? Groovy…wow…it’s really beautiful to see so many people together. I know it might be a tiny bit uncomfortable, but so can sleeping…be…a tiny bit uncomfortable. “

His set was as follows:

  • From the Prison > Get Together > From the Prison
  • I’m a Stranger Here
  • High Flyin’ Bird
  • I Can’t Make It Anymore
  • With A Little Help from my Friends
  • Handsome Johnny
  • Strawberry Fields For Ever
  • Motherless Child/Freedom
Richie Havens Woodstock

From the Prison

Richie Havens is well known for covering others’ songs and at Woodstock he opened with Jerry Merrick’s From the Prison with abit of Dino Valenti’s Get Together in between.  From the Prison had appeared on Havens’s 1968 Something Else album.

To be kind to the next door neighbor
To be kind to the jailhouse screw;
To be kind to a child, in the fantasy wild
Is the best thing you can do
Is the best thing you can do

As simple as Havens’s presentations typically are, his guitar style combined with Williams’s guitar and Ben Zebulon’s percussion create a wonderfully effective and immediately engrossing moment.

From the Prison had appeared on Havens’s 1968 Something Else Again album.

Richie Havens Woodstock

I Am a Stranger Here

His second song is another has a familiar beginning which echoes his Motherless Child/Freedom encore.  The song had appeared on Electric Havens in 1968.

In the late ’60s, as Havens rose to stardom, producer Alan Douglas of Douglas Music had taken some original solo demos and overdubbed them with electric instruments. He called the album Electric Havens and it was one of of two albums (the other being The Richie Havens Record) of similarly overdubbed solo demos probably recorded from sometime between 1963-1965 before Havens’s first official release on Verve,  Mixed Bag  [from AllMusic. com].

I cannot find the person who wrote this song. Perhaps Havens himself.  Jerry Merrick did write a song with the same title, but it is not the song Havens sung at Woodstock.

Richie Havens Woodstock

High Flying Bird

There’s a high flyin’ bird, flying way up in the sky,
And I wonder if she looks down as she goes on by?
Well, she’s flying so freely in the sky.
Lord, look at me here,
I’m rooted like a tree here,
Got those sit-down, can’t cry,
Oh, Lord, gonna die blues.
Billy Edd Wheeler wrote the song. From a Citizen Times articleHis songs have been recorded by a musical Who’s Who: Elvis Presley, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, Glen Campbell, Judy Collins, The Country Gentlemen, John Denver, Hazel Dickens, Richie Havens, The Kingston Trio, Tim O’Brien, Roy Clark, Tom T. Hall, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Kenny Rogers, Hank Snow and others.
Richie Havens Woodstock

I Can’t Make It Anymore

Written by Gordon Lightfoot, fans had fallen in love with this song already. It was also from Mixed Bag.

I get too low with no reason
You say its the moon or maybe the season
But something’s not the same
And I won’t let my mind believe
Baby, something’s wrong
Or the feelings gone
I can’t make it anymore
I can’t make it anymore.

Richie Havens Woodstock

With A Little Help From My Friends

Obviously a Beatle song and as good as Havens’s version it (and still is) will be Joe Cocker’s cover on Sunday that will become the Woodstock cover of this song.

Interestingly, Richie Havens was still learning the lyrics as he asks the crowd to sing along and he sort of helps them and they sort of help him. The both sort of succeed.

Richie Havens Woodstock

Handsome Johnny

Photo by Jim Shelley

Havens’ was rarely obviously political, but the song Handsome Johnny is an exception to that rule.  Louis Gossett, Jr co-wrote the song with Havens. At Richie Havens’s memorial service held on August 15, 2013 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Gossett told the story of how a letter arrived for him just he, a struggling Hollywood actor, was about to be evicted from his apartment.  Inside the letter was a check from Havens. The check was for royalties earned from Handsome Johnny.

Hey, what’s the use of singing this song, some of you are not even listening.
Tell me what it is we’ve got to do: wait for our fields to start glistening,
Wait for the bullets to start whistling.
Here comes a hydrogen bomb, here comes a guided missile,
Here comes a hydrogen bomb: I can almost hear its whistle.

Richie Havens Woodstock

One Hundred Million Songs

After Handsome Johnny, Havens spoke to the crowd.

There’s a hundred millions songs gonna’ be sung here tonight. All of them gonna’ be singing about the same thing which I hope everybody who came, came to hear…really…and it’s all about you…actually. You, me, and everybody around the stage and everybody who hasn’t gotten here and the people who are gonna’ read about you tomorrow. Yes. And how really groovy you were.

He then went on to talk about the clogged roads and that the reason was because though promised at the 1939 World’s Fair, the road construction had never happened. Why? Maybe we didn’t vote.

Sage words even today.

Richie Havens Woodstock

Strawberry Fields Forever

While the Beatles themselves may not have attended Woodstock, their songs were. As he typically did, Havens made the song his own.

Let me take you down
‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

Richie Havens Woodstock

Motherless Child/Freedom

He’d been on stage about 42 minutes by the end of Strawberry Fields and he walked away to Zebulon’s percussion. MC John Morris. the crowd wanted more.

A MOMENT was about to happen. Havens began playing and repeating the word freedom.

Eight times.

He then moved into Motherless Child, traditional song that dated back to American slavery. A child torn from those they loved.

It would be a vast overstatement to say the primarily white male audience at Woodstock could relate to those lyrics, but enough alienation existed in 1969 among that audience that they felt like they knew.

Richie Havens Woodstock

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Winter 2021 COVID 19

20 Million

January 1, 2021: NPR reported that the United States had recorded its 20 millionth confirmed coronavirus case since the beginning of the pandemic.

That figure was according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University, which reported 20,037,736 cases and 346,687 deaths in the U.S. at the time of publication on Friday, January 1. Over 83 million coronavirus cases had been confirmed worldwide.

The U.S. had reached 10 million cases on November 9. In less than two months, the country had doubled its total number of infections.

The nation accounts for nearly a quarter of all infections in the world and a fifth of all deaths.

1,834,663 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 1, 2021: 84,362,526 cases; 1,834,663 deaths worldwide

356,445 COVID Deaths USA

January 1, 2021: 20,617,346 cases; 356,445 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

COVID numbers accurate

January 3: US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said he had “no reason to doubt” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 death toll, contradicting President Donald Trump’s claim that the agency has “exaggerated” its numbers.

“From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers,” Adams told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” when asked about Trump’s claim.
“And I think people need to be very aware that it’s not just about the deaths, as we talked about earlier,” he added. “It’s about the hospitalizations, the capacity. These cases are having an impact in an array of ways and people need to understand there’s a finish line in sight, but we’ve got to keep running toward it.”
Earlier in the day, Trump had claimed on Twitter that the number of cases and deaths of the “China Virus is far exaggerated” because of the CDC’s “ridiculous method of determination” compared to other countries, which “report, purposely, very inaccurately and low.” [CNN article]
Winter 2021 COVID 19

1,860,354 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 4, 2021: 86,095,659 cases; 1,860,354 deaths worldwide

362,123 COVID Deaths USA

January 4, 2021: 21,353,051 cases; 362,123 deaths in the United States,

Slow Rollout

January 5: inoculation efforts in many countries rolled out slower than promised, even as the count of new infections soared and record numbers flood hospitals, placing a double burden on health care providers who had also been tasked with leading the vaccination push.

And a more contagious variant spreading widely in England and detected in dozens of other countries threatened to give the virus an even greater advantage. [NYT article]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

On  January 7, 2021, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease specialist, said in a radio interview, “We believe things will get worse as we get into January.”

On January 8, 2021, the United States broke its single-day record for new coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day with more than 300,000 cases.

It was the first time the country had crossed the 300,000-case mark, according to a New York Times database. Hospitalizations were also at a near-record high — 131,889, according to the Covid Tracking Project — and officials across the nation reported more than 3,890 new deaths the same day, the third-highest daily tally of the pandemic. [NYT article]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

1,921,119 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 8, 2021: 89,343,185 cases; 1,921,119 deaths worldwide

362,123 COVID Deaths USA

January 8, 2021: 22,461,696 cases; 378,204 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

January 12, 2021: 4,218 deaths were reported across the United States, according to a New York Times database, a number once unimaginable.

The death count, which set another daily record, represented at least 1,597 more people than those killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The U.S. death toll, already the world’s highest by a wide margin, was at that point about 20,000 shy of 400,000 — only a month after the country crossed the 300,000 threshold, a figure greater than the number of Americans who died fighting in World War II.

Winter 2021 COVID 19

1,968,914 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 12, 2021: 91,995,859 cases; 1,968,914 deaths worldwide

389,621 COVID Deaths USA

January 12, 2021: 23,369,732 cases; 389,621 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Biden President

January 20, 2012: President Biden signed an executive order appointing Jeffrey D. Zients as the official Covid-19 response coordinator who will report to the president, in an effort to “aggressively” gear up the nation’s response to the pandemic.

The order also restored the directorate for global health security and biodefense at the National Security Council, a group President Trump had disbanded.

Though it is not a national mask mandate, which would most likely fall to a legal challenge, Biden required social distancing and the wearing of masks on all federal property and by all federal employees.

He also started a “100 days masking challenge” urging all Americans to wear masks and state and local officials to implement public measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Biden also reinstated ties with the World Health Organization after the Trump administration had chosen to withdraw the nation’s membership and funding last year. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci would head the U.S. delegation to the organization’s executive board and jumped into the role with a meeting this week. [NYT article}

Winter 2021 COVID 19

2,081,857 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 20, 2021: 97,287,117 cases; 2,081,857 deaths worldwide

415,905 COVID Deaths USA

January 20, 2021: 24,999,070 cases; 415,905 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19
January 21, Biden’s first full day

President Biden, pledging a “full-scale wartime effort” to combat the coronavirus pandemic, signed a string of executive orders and presidential directives  aimed at combating the worst public health crisis in a century, including new requirements for masks on interstate planes, trains and buses and for international travelers to quarantine after arriving in the United States.

“History is going to measure whether we are up to the task,” Mr. Biden declared in an appearance in the State Dining Room of the White House, with Vice President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, his chief Covid-19 medical adviser, by his side.

In a 200-page document called “National Strategy for the Covid-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness,” the new administration outlines the kind of centralized federal response that Democrats have long demanded and President Donald J. Trump refused. [NYT article]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Previous and subsequent COVID-19 posts:

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause
From a 2016 interview:
Born December 8, 1938

The names of the bands and their songs, whether singles or albums, are the first to become famous. Sometimes the writers or producers or engineers receive the spotlight.

Bernie Krause is a musician, at least that is how the spotlight first found him.

He grew up in Detroit, the son of a lawyer turned businessman and a mother who loved theater and fine art, but hated animals and he himself was extremely allergic to cats, dogs, and horses.

For a year in 1963 became a part of the Weavers, the famous folk group Pete Seeger is associated with.

Krause moved to California and studied electronic music at Mills College. He met fellow musician Paul Beaver and they formed Beaver and Krause.

Robert Moog and Herbert Deutsch had introduced their synthesizer on October 12, 1964 and Beaver and Krause became sales representatives for the Moog company.  Krause described the soundIt made physical contact with you beyond what you were just hearing with your ears. So the room was just, you know, completely vibrating.

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause

The Monkees/Star Collector

As musicians, the two found work incorporating the synthesizer’s sound into pop music. One of the first to use it were the Monkees in their song Star Collector.


In 1967, Beaver & Krause release their The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause

George Harrison/No Time or Space

George Harrison found the sounds interesting and had Bernie Krause demonstrate it to him. Unbeknownst to Krause, Harrison recorded part of the demonstration and included it on his own Electronic Music album as the tune No Time or Space.

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause

Beach Boys/Surfs Up

One of Krause’s favorites is the Beach Boys’ Surfs Up tune.

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause


In 1968 Warner Brothers Records pitched the duo an idea: make a whole album mixing together electronic sounds and sounds of nature.

His animal aversions in mind, Krause was not enthused, but he decided to give the idea a try.

He took a portable reel-to-reel recorder, some mic’s, and set off into Muir Woods, a stand redwoods just across the Golden Gate Bridge. In retrospect, Krause said, “When I turned on that recorder and heard the sound of space open up for the first time, it’s magical. The effect of breeze in the canopy of the redwoods.

Ravens that were flying overhead, you could hear the edge tones of their wings of these  as they flew overhead and off into the distance. It struck me as being one of the most beautiful sounds I’d ever heard.

It made him feel good. It made him change his life’s direction.

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause

In A Wild Sanctuary

Beaver & Krause released their In A Wild Sanctuary in 1970.

Paul Beaver died of a cerebral aneurysm in January 1975, at the age of 49, while working on a revised version of The Nonesuch Guide.

Disenchanted with the music scene and all it entailed, Bernie Krause began to travel in search of nature’s sounds. He learned about bird migrations. The sounds of spring. The wolves’ whisper howling.

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause

The acoustic niche hypothesis

He returned to school, got a PhD and began to work for zoos, aquariums, and museums.

The more he listened the more he realized he was listening to something special. Not just sounds of nature, but the interaction of those sounds. That each of the insect and animals sought out their own sound niche just as they sought out a physical niche in which to live. The animals were a collective orchestra.

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause

Soundscape Ecology

He and Stuart Gage developed a new discipline: soundscape ecology. Unfortunately at the same time he explored and developed this approach, he noticed when returning to various locations that the amount of sound had diminished.  As animal species declined in number or even went extinct, their sound left the score and that absence caused other animals to change or leave the orchestra.

A nearby military base’s jet test flights could change the score. And when the score changed, predators could capture the “out of tune” animal. More  abatement.

Farm equipment. Highways.  Drilling.  Sirens. Shipping. Constructions.

All had a negative impact on the nature’s orchestration.  A score unraveled.

And if the environment was changed it sometimes made it harder for an animal to find food. And if the animal found less food, it had less energy. And if it had less energy, it might have to lessen or give up its vocalizations.

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause

June 1913 TED Talk

In the following TED Talk, Krause speaks about three things:

  1. Geophony: non-biological sounds of any given habitat like wind in the trees, water in the stream, or waves at the ocean shore.
  2. Biophony: all of the sounds generated by organisms in a given habitat.
  3. Anthrophony: human sounds

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause

Climate Change Catastrophe

The Krauses’ home, with his archives, equipment, and all of their personal possessions were destroyed in a wildfire on 11 October 2017.

Though his audio recordings were backed up off-site, he lost his physical archive of sound, 50 years of recordings and notebooks, and equipment.

Links to the main sources for this

Invisiblia transcript:

Invisibilia show:

Ecologist Musician Bernie Krause

What's so funny about peace, love, art, and activism?