Nobody Left to Crown

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - J. Poet
Havens became an international star in 1969, when he opened the Woodstock Festival with a set that was three hours long and culminated with "Freedom," a song he improvised on the spot based on the traditional salve song "Motherless Children." Havens has been on the road ever since, known for his unique driving acoustic guitar style, soulful gravel-throated vocals,and freewheeling set lists. He's written plenty of his own songs over the years, but is best known for his interpretations of other songwriters. On Nobody Left to Crown, his 30th album of new material, Havens interprets the Who, Peter, Paul & Mary,and Jackson Browne, but the majority of the tunes are his own, and ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - J. Poet
Havens became an international star in 1969, when he opened the Woodstock Festival with a set that was three hours long and culminated with "Freedom," a song he improvised on the spot based on the traditional salve song "Motherless Children." Havens has been on the road ever since, known for his unique driving acoustic guitar style, soulful gravel-throated vocals,and freewheeling set lists. He's written plenty of his own songs over the years, but is best known for his interpretations of other songwriters. On Nobody Left to Crown, his 30th album of new material, Havens interprets the Who, Peter, Paul & Mary,and Jackson Browne, but the majority of the tunes are his own, and they stand proudly alongside the covers. "The Key" opens things up with a meditation on the healing power of love. It's a gentle folk-rock tune with a hint of samba in the rhythm, and Havens' smooth timeless vocals offering solace to both his lover and the world. "Say It Isn't So" speaks about the troubles of the world with the disbelief of a child facing death for the first time. A cello adds its poignant voice to Havens' heartbreaking vocal. The title track is the kind of driving, rhythmic tune Havens is so good at, a look at the clay feet of our leaders delivered with ironic humor instead of anger. He drops a quote from "Home on the Range" into the chorus, singing "where seldom is heard an encouraging word, and our leaders do nothing all day." He rages gently against the powers that be on "Fates," a blues that likens capitalism to slavery. The song builds slowly to a moaning coda with Havens wordlessly lamenting the mess the world is in, while Henry Manx adds stinging accents on slide guitar and mohan veena. Pete Townshend's "Won't Get Fooled Again" gets slowed down, with Havens' vocal more hopeless than angry. When he sings "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" he sounds weary and defeated. Jackson Browne's "Lives in the Balance," written about the U.S. supported war in El Salvador, still sounds unhappily timely, and Havens delivers the lyric with a searing intensity. Peter Yarrow's "The Great Mandala The Wheel of Life" appears near the end of the album, another prayer for sanity in a world that seems to be going mad once again. The music here is quiet, acoustic, and downbeat, with Havens sounding cautiously optimistic as he faces life and death. The album's not an upper, but even the darkest songs are suffused with Havens' gentle soulfulness.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/29/2008
  • Label: Verve Forecast
  • UPC: 600753093146
  • Catalog Number: 001163102

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Richie Havens Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Shawn Pelton Drums
Stephanie Winters Cello
Walter Parks Guitar
Keith Christopher Bass Guitar
Technical Credits
Richie Havens Composer, Producer
Jackson Browne Composer
Pete Townshend Composer
Andy Fairweather Low Composer
Peter Yarrow Composer
Hugh Marsh Composer
Patrick Cassidy Composer
Brian Bacchus Producer
Clarence Greenwood Composer
Trevor Horn Composer
Jay Newland Producer
Harry Gregson-Williams Composer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Richie Havens continues to AMAZE!

    Richie Havens has traveled full circle. His first record (Mixed Bag), released on Verve Records in 1967, showcased the Brooklyn-born musician/poet/painter musically eclectic sensibilities. It makes sense then that his latest effort, an album that featured his interpretations of Bob Dylan, Jesse Fuller, Gordon Lightfoot, as well as his own compositions, would be released by Verve Forecast, a label designed as a vanguard of current singer-songwriters. Havens&#8217 outlook on the world at large has remained intact. A close listen to his lyrics reveals that he is a critical optimist. He hopes for change yet is very aware of the &#8220 men in the shadows&#8221 whose alleged protection of liberty is a smoke screen for more insidious dealings. But Nobody Left to Crown gives a hint of hope in its otherwise bleak snapshot of politics. In the absence of a leader, Havens suggests, the people need to lead themselves. To paraphrase a theory he&#8217 s often expressed we are the government, the people in the nation&#8217 s capital are our representatives. It is up to the people to fight for change. Nobody Left to Crown completes the trilogy of Havens&#8217 output for this decade. Wishing Well (2002) and Grace of the Sun (2004), released on his own Stormy Forest imprint, indicated that some of Havens&#8217 best material has arrived in the latter part of his career. With a return to the label that started his recording career, Nobody Left to Crown is the most consistently good of the three albums. Like the most prolific songwriters and storytellers, Richie Havens is a man who still has so many more things to say, in both his own words and through the work of others who touch his fiery, poetic soul.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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