Telephone

I'm struck over and over by the power of music to communicate, to get a message through. Not many seem more intent on discovering that power than Richie Havens. Not many seem to go deeper inside themselves in order to send the song out. You can get a sense of that from his performance at Woodstock.

He briefly revisited that song at the Syracuse Jazz Festival last night. 41 years later he's still sitting, eyes closed, big left thumb barring chords, right hand a blur. And he's still singing what was at first an improvised line: "I've got a telephone in my bosom." I'd have left it in, too. It's a nice idea. You're facing some trial, a different and better life seems out of reach, but you have this way to connect. And you know someone's listening. So once in a while you make the call and wait... wait for the distant drum to strike, for the fires on the hill to be lit.