Picks and Pans Review: Connections

updated 05/05/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/05/1980 01:00AM

Richie Havens

After 15 albums in 13 years, Havens could easily have lapsed into the role of Troubadour of Easy Listening—a sort of funky version of Perry Como singing the Beatles. He is not a composer, and the tunes he borrows here are mostly familiar rock retreads like Fleetwood Mac's Dreams, Paul McCartney's Every Night and even the Sam Cooke oldie You Send Me. Yet Havens rises well above the journeyman level, thanks to an idiosyncratic voice that remains as warm, earthy and enveloping as a summer morning ground fog. Even when those pipes soften a hard rocker like Bob Seger's Fire Down Below, the result is grits rather than mush—still worth a taste.

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