Exposé Online banner

Richie Havens — Nobody Left to Crown
(Verve Forecast B0011631-02, 2008, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2009-07-01

Nobody Left to Crown Cover artIf one hasn't listened to anything new by Richie Havens since the 60s or 70s, perhaps it’s time to listen again. If anything, this latest offering from the respected singer-songwriter is as good as anything from back in the day. Havens' voice – a rich, deep and husky tenor, has only improved with age, and on this collection he has surrounded himself with an outstanding cast of players that are at once complimentary and supportive, and the top notch production easily makes this one of his best albums. In the past, Havens' albums have typically been driven by selected cover material with some originals thrown in. Here, the ratio is about 50/50, a bit more originals than most. The covers include Jackson Browne's "Lives in the Balance," "The Great Mandala (Wheel of Life)" by Peter Paul & Mary, and The Who's "Won’t Get Fooled Again" (among three others), yet he adapts these seamlessly to his own style and makes them truly his own. His perspective tends to reflect more cynicism and bitterness than his early work (both his originals and selection of covers), and that pessimism comes through clearly in his delivery; saying this is not upbeat and optimistic is certainly an understatement. Standouts among the originals include opener "The Key," the title track, and "Fates," his indictment of the dark side of capitalism, comparing it to slavery. Whether one sees things his way or not, one pretty much has to agree this is one of Havens' finest offerings.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 37, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): Richie Havens

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kansas - Kansas & Song for America – The first two Kansas albums contain some of the group's best material and show a band on the way up in their formative years. Commercial success for the band would not arrive until two albums...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues