There is little doubt that Stormy Forest was a vehicle for Richie Havens records. Havens was born in
Brooklyn and grew up in New York City. As a folk singer, he developed a unique style of fast, rhythmic
guitar material that was not only thoughtful in lyric, but well suited his low, raspy voice. He recorded
albums for the Douglas label in 1966, then went to Verve, and MGM-related company, in 1968. He
was the opening act at Woodstock in 1969, and electrified the crowd with songs such as "Handsome
Johnny" (from his 1968 LP Mixed Bag). There is little doubt that Woodstock was the pivotal point
in his career. By 1970, he apparently teamed up with Mark Roth to form Stormy Forest Productions and
publishing arm Stormy Forest Music. The label was not far behind.
Between 1970 and 1974, Havens placed six Stormy Forest albums on the national charts, including Alarm Clock, which went to #29. He was definitely an album artist, as only one of his singles hit the charts. That single, the biggest single hit for the label, was Richie's interpretation of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," (Stormy Forest 656, #16, 1971). It was recorded live at the tiny Cellar Door night club in Georgetown (Washington, DC) and some guitar overdubs to the stereo recording resulted in a mono master. At the end of the song (which was edited for 45 airplay), the enthusiastic crowd can be heard applauding and stomping, a crowd of perhaps 100 or so, shoe-horned into the closet-sized Cellar Door. In later reissues, in order to try to make the song sound like it was stereo, a slight reverb has been added to the song, until the end, when a stadium-sized crowd in true stereo has been overdubbed. To anyone who has ever been in the Cellar Door, this is an ignominious and preposterous fate for a great song recorded at a great little club. The original live recording in true stereo, minus the guitar overdubs, was eventually released on compact disc on the 1995 CD Richie Havens Live at the Cellar Door [Five Star Recordings FS 1001CD].
Other artists for the label included Bob Brown, singer Kathy Smith, Kris Peterson, Bruce Murdoch, Tom Brimm, and Montreal. None of these achieved success, and as is usual with a label with only one successful act, when the Richie Havens albums stopped selling, the label declined. Stormy Forest is still owned by Richie Havens, and has reissued most of the albums on CD.
The Stormy Forest label is an attractive metallic blue-grey color with black print. The logo at the top is pink and black, and sits in the middle of "STORMY FOREST" wrapped around the curve of the label. Promotional labels were the same, but marked promotional.
We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail. Both Sides Now Publications is an information web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association with Stormy Forest Records or MGM Records, which are currently owned by Universal Music Group. Should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in this discography (which are all out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow the instructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 2000 by Mike Callahan.