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Paradise (in memory of Richie Havens)


by

TobinMueller

 Genre: Acoustic

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Description
Richie Havens first grabbed my attention with his brave improvisation on "Freedom" during his Woodstock performance, trying to extend his set while the organizers awaited the next act to show up. We got a chance to meet and share a stage in 1992 and again in 2008, connected by our enthusiasm for environmental issues. He is known more for his covers of others' compositions, but has some fabulous original songs to his credit. This, I believe, is his best. It forms the starting point and frames the entire album I am currently working on, which I've titled Hard Place To Find, taken from a lyric in this song.

Although Haven's version is superlatively uplifting and hip, it's lyrics are, perhaps, too cynical for me. I changed a few details here and there especially when he starts the 3rd verse: I’m not trying to be no prophet. I’m not trying to change your mind. But I think that this searching is, such a waste of time. Well, when I was a young man, I always wanted to be a prophet (I smile to myself, now, as I recall this). So I changed that line as well as the next, since, if searching is a waste of time, it certainly has been, for me, a pleasant one.

Musically, I transform the 3rd verse into a coda, giving it a different feel. I remain in that musical/reggae feel, but shift gears to make it seem more like an older man thinking back. In the end, I think my version gives you the sense I am still searching, still content to waste my time, pleasantly, finding the small meanings of living and fairly convinced that I have touched on paradise a time or two... and hope to again.

The album hasn't come out yet, so I disabled the downloading thing. Sorry. But I wanted to get this track out there as a memorial to Richie Havens, the most childlike, sweet soul-in-the-clouds man I have ever met. He died yesterday from an unexpected heart attack.
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Lyrics
PARADISE by Richie Havens
with altered lyrics:

(A little reggae soft shoe... I gotta a lot of walking left to do...)

There’s a thousand roads that get you there and each one looks the same,
and with every step you’re thinking: Should you have gone the other way?
There are those who give direction, even though they’re lost themselves,
and those that finally get there never leave no trace or trail.
So, if you’re searching for some peace of mind,
out in a world that’s cold and unkind,
hoping someone will throw you a sign...
Paradise is a hard place to find.

There are wise men who tell you, it’s up there in the sky.
But I’ve flown enough airplanes... it looks like that's a lie.
There are those that think it’s here and now. What you do with everyday.
We better make the best of living, we’re gonna die for sure some day.
Searching for some peace of mind, out in a world that is cold and unkind.
Hoping someone will show us a sign.
Paradise is a hard place to find.
It's a hard place. A hard place.
Hard place to find.

I used to think I'd be a prophet, find reasons in these rhymes.
But I think that kind of searching could be a pleasant waste of time.
There are those who have religion that tells them how to live each day.
And those who shape the Universe if all they do is pray.
But me, myself, I’m tired. I don’t really need to know.
Just as long as I’m still breathing and I’ve got somewhere to go.
Searching for peace of mind.
Out in a world that is cold and unkind,
Hoping someone will throw me a line.
Paradise is a hard place.
Paradise is a hard place,
a hard place to find.
Song Stats
Hits: 2853
Comments: 28
Fans: 15
Plays: 260
Downloads: 0

Uploaded: Apr 23, 2013 - 09:45:05 AM
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2013 - 09:45:05 AM Last Played: Apr 12, 2017 - 10:42:24 AM
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Comments
Loob said 1467 days ago (April 23rd, 2013)
Great track Tobin!
I tried to comment on your other upload. Both amazing and entertaining! You da man Tobin!
Check out my latest song called Rain w Melani Cholie
TobinMueller said 1467 days ago (April 23rd, 2013)
Thank you
Yes, life is so full of loss. So full of beauty. Hold on to it all...
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Philip18 said 1467 days ago (April 23rd, 2013)
Paradise
Lively piano with many interesting flourishes. Engaging vocal style for the interesting lyrics. Nice tribute to a fine musician. I like this a lot, Tobin.
TobinMueller said 1467 days ago (April 23rd, 2013)
interesting flourishes
Thanks! I hope you go to the Richie Havens RIP thread and listen to his solo version of the tune, altho the full version on his original recording is even better. Glad you like this interpretation. Appreciated.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
paul f. page said 1467 days ago (April 23rd, 2013)
Love the piano track.
You have such an ease in playing this rhythmically challenging style of piano music. It is always interesting and inventive and performed with a deft touch. So nice to hear you playing again.
Check out my latest song called Far From The Madding Crowd
TobinMueller said 1467 days ago (April 23rd, 2013)
Fellow pianist
I am always so satisfied when a fellow pianist listens and comments that what sounds so simple (I hope) is actually so hard to do! Thanks for bringing your own passion and soul to these listens. Means a lot, Paul. Peace and love back at you...
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
peacepiano said 1467 days ago (April 23rd, 2013)
Tribute
You really do the lyrics justice and the addition of your piano make this a special song from you. Bravo! Thanks.
Check out my latest song called Beat SoloMe-O
TobinMueller said 1466 days ago (April 24th, 2013)
lyrical justice
Thanks. I think the reggae aspect of the tin pan alley "reggae soft shoe" style I was going for was more in my head than in man hands, but I hope the playing brings a smile. It is kind of incongruent, on purpose, to play happy music as I sing about a world that is cold and unkind, trying to get at the deeper meaning of the happy searcher. As long as I'm still breathin' and I got somewhere to go...
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Vic Holman said 1467 days ago (April 23rd, 2013)
Paradise
good to hear a new from you tobin. snappy piano as i always can expect. nice, sweet tune
Check out my latest song called Blue Shoes
TobinMueller said 1466 days ago (April 24th, 2013)
snappy piano
I totally dig the phrase "snappy piano"! Ha! I wish there was a Reggae Soft Show category in iTunes!

Thanks.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Moviz said 1466 days ago (April 24th, 2013)
This sounds
such a complex style of piano that I just don't know how you manage it as well as singing.... great performance and I'm sure a great tribute to the man....... and I think you altered the wording in the line you mentioned, for the better, regards M
Check out my latest song called Angels
TobinMueller said 1466 days ago (April 24th, 2013)
complex
...I practice a lot! It takes me about two weeks of working on it everyday to arrange and rehearse each song on these two cover CDs. (I also need about that much time to recover from singing, so it works out.) Thanks for commenting on the altered lyrics. It helps me to own each tune, especially at that moment when the microphone is turned on and the soul begins to open...
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
johnwhitehead said 1466 days ago (April 24th, 2013)
Richie
What a cool project. I love your approach to taking interesting and challenging songs and making them your own. The voice and piano format works so well. There's so much going on with the piano that it really needs the space. Your chord harmonizations and substitutions against the relatively straight vocal line always keep it interesting. I assume you track vocals separately? And as others have commented, there's any ever present theatricality that's all your own.
Check out my latest song called Wandering Blues
TobinMueller said 1464 days ago (April 26th, 2013)
cover projects
Thanks for the great listen and comments. I have project pages for both cover albums:
http://www.tobinmueller.com/solo/
http://www.tobinmueller.com/hardplace/
...in case you want to read/listen more!

Sometimes I think I change chordal patterns and musical emotions too often, but then when I think of the lyrics, I just cant stick with a "groove" concept. And since I end up playing these so many times, over and over, to perfect them, repeating stuff would drive me nuts. glad you thought the balance of density and space, theme and variation worked.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
alackbass said 1466 days ago (April 24th, 2013)
Paradise (in memory of Richie Havens)
So nice to have you back. Too bad we had to lose Richie in the process. Great tribute. Your piano playing is outstanding.
Check out my latest song called Mean Miss Teacher
TobinMueller said 1464 days ago (April 26th, 2013)
Richie
Yes. For some reason, a few minutes after I heard about his death, I gravitated to MacJams. Weird, huh...
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
apb said 1465 days ago (April 25th, 2013)
Top notch
I particularly enjoyed that shifting around prior to and including that exquisite little section starting at 02:57 .. but it's all good! Richie Havens I never knew of, before my time.. just read about his passing the other day though... opening act at Woodstock.. ah well.. but this is a fine tribute Tobin.
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
TobinMueller said 1464 days ago (April 26th, 2013)
2:50
I love that build there too! And then the cooled out section that follows. Sometimes I just wish I could skip the first section, but then the impact would not be the same. Thanks for noticing. Appreciated.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Warren Smith said 1465 days ago (April 25th, 2013)
Inspired cover song
Richie Havens for me was one of those random discoveries when I bought his "Something Else Again" album as an impromptu purchase in a Minneapolis music store back in '68. I think I was fascinated by the picture of him on the cover playing a sitar. It was a different kind of music for me, but it won me over. I can still quote lyrics from those songs.

Doing an album of covers sounds like a good challenge for you. After a life time of creating and recording original material, it's probably a good feeling to let yourself go ahead and interpret other people's songs for a change.

This is a gem of a song. And a good song is worthy of multiple renditions. I like yours here, with the rollicking piano that seems to be continuously searching for the right notes and chord combinations .. reinforcing the song's theme of restless searching.

I wish I could play and sing at the same time. Even two weeks of practicing wouldn't be enough for me to pull it off : )
Check out my latest song called On Your Knees
TobinMueller said 1464 days ago (April 26th, 2013)
Inspired
I love your description "the rollicking piano that seems to be continuously searching for the right notes and chord combinations .. reinforcing the song's theme of restless searching." Wow. I want to use that on the album cover now...! How cool. Thanks a ton.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
PeterB7858 said 1465 days ago (April 25th, 2013)
Paradise
Totally engrossing, Tobin. The 5 minutes flew by. You have done a very fine job paying respects to a fellow artist. The deceptively easy interplay between the piano and your vocals speaks volumes. Thanks for sharing this with us. Regards, Peter.
Check out my latest song called Dancing In The Rain (GSB)
TobinMueller said 1464 days ago (April 26th, 2013)
interplay
Thank you, Peter. There is a lot of interplay, and the emotions evoked exhaust me when I approach the time to record it. I know how I feel, but am never sure how others feel. I am glad some of it translates. I appreciate your listens and comments.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Char said 1463 days ago (April 27th, 2013)
This
sounds as if you had a good time while performing it. Thanks.
Check out my latest song called When Loving Is One-sided, Music by Bob Rodgers
TobinMueller said 1461 days ago (April 29th, 2013)
Indeed!
It conjures so many good moments, memories, and attitudes. Yes, I love these lyrics and this song. Thanks for listening, Char.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
woofer3 said 1454 days ago (May 6th, 2013)
paradise
Very enjoyable and so sophisticated.
Check out my latest song called Drunken bakers [08-01]
TobinMueller said 1418 days ago (June 11th, 2013)
sophisticated
Thanks. I know piano fellow players will get how much thought goes into my piano arrangements. I appreciate your listening and comments.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Dadai.2 said 1441 days ago (May 19th, 2013)
Inspiration from another...
... often brings out the best. This is one of your best, Tobin. You're loose and free in your vocal like I don't think I've heard before. Maybe my fault for not hearing enough of your tunes. But, nonetheless, this rendition of Paradise is an original. Glad you're still posting here...
Check out my latest song called Stepping Back From The Edge (2008 protest song)
TobinMueller said 1418 days ago (June 11th, 2013)
an original
Thanks, Dadai! Glad you stopped by. Yes, inspiration brings out the best. I truly love the nurturing cross-inspiration of Macjams. So glad you stopped by and had a listen!
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Artist Info
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Name: Tobin Mueller
Location: Rowayton CT USA
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I am a professional musician, composer, playwright and director. I've led a charmed life. I'm married to fellow MJer Suzanne and MJer Twonicus is my son, who currently sings and writes for rock bands in the NYC, D.C. and Cleveland areas. My second s... [see more]

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