Like Dylan and Baez he became popular through the Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-60's and became an international figure through his dynamic opening performance at Woodstock. His appearance is part of rock history, in that he recieved so many ovations that he eventually ran out of songs, launching into an improvised version of Motherless Child that became a surprise radio hit. Next came the 1971 album Alarm Clock and a constant stream of albums that has lasted to the present day with the 2004 release Grace of the Sun.
Richie Havens is distinguished, not only as one of the few black folk singer (Odetta is another one) but for his unique guitar style, relying on intense rhythmns and open tuning and unconventional thumb fretting style. He is also known for some pretty amazing reinterpretations of Beatles songs, particularly, Here Comes the Sun, off Alarm Clock.
Check him out !
Image: Courtesy Evangeline