In honor of Richie Havens, who passed away earlier this week, I’m bringing back this 2010 post. -O.W.

Lamont Dozier: Going Back To My Roots
From Peddlin’ Music On The Side (WB, 1977)

Richie Havens: Going Back To My Roots
From Connections (Elektra, 1980)

One of my best moments in a club came back in the ’00s when I was at APT during a night that Chairman Mao was spinning. I had never heard Lamont Dozier’s “Going Back To My Roots” before and I was just marveling at now just how good the song was, but that incredible change in the arrangement that drops around the 6:30 mark. It was so unexpected and sublime, one of those songs that really only could work as well as it does when you give it time to unfold on a dancefloor. Simply incredible.

Not surprisingly, it drew the attention of other artists. The best known cover is by Odyssey but…I don’t know…I think I found the vocals to be too disco-cliché. Richie Havens’ version however won me over with that intro piano (I’m a sucker for good piano intros) and though Havens has a rougher voice than Dozier’s it works well here. The “reprise” section is missing but otherwise, I find this almost as pleasing to play out.




  1. yo man did u ever check peter tosh live in boston 76′ smasher

    i went up and down south america on that cassette in 98 traded my let it bleed tape for a salvavidas t-shirt

    but the tosh stayed close strong in the desert and strong in the rain side streets and main

    chiloe power

  2. Great post O-Dub. This is probably too late to be called “proto-disco” but this song just seems to capture that moment when soul and disco were passing each other for a fleeting moment ever so perfectly. And truly it is a rare thing to have a cover that meets its original in quality as Richie Havens’ version of “Goin Back to My Roots” does so well. Personally, I always find it amazing that with Soul Sides you are always able to dig into the crates, find a fantastically obscure song to cover, and then manage to resurface such fine secondary covers of your featured music. Love it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.