Richie was one of the nicest guys I ever met in the business. I saw him play 4 times, and was lucky enough to open for him once here in Leicester.
He was a nice guy, but also made it his business to be nice to fans - he didn't just shake and and sign, he'd chat with them - I remember overhearing him say to a fan with an LP to sign "Oh yeah, I can tell you a funny thing about the photo on the cover" etc... He always waited after the gig til EVERYONE who queued to see him got to see him. There's a special needs guy comes to a lot of local gigs and you can't really understand his speech much, he was the last in the queue - Richie had been there an hour after the gig, but of course, gave him the same time, smiling, laughing, and just saying some fun things "You got me, man - outa sight...."
I have some nice personal memories. I first met him, young and keen I naiively gave him a copy of my first cassette album. He said, "Oh great, that'll be nice to listen to on the plane home" - now I doubt he did, but it was a nice thing to say.
When I opened for him, he was backstage and came out to exit the venue as I was soundchecking my Irish flute - he turned round, smiled and said, "Hey man - that sounds so beautiful." That night he gave me a copy of his new album and signed it "lets do this again sometime". When I gave him my latest album he said "Oooh!! - new material!" :-)
When I met him for the last time at the Rhythm Festival, it was raining but he still waited til every fan was seen. I told him that he wouldn't remember but a couple of years earlier I opened for him in Leicester. He coulda said "No I don't remember" but instead he said "Well I hope we get to work together again sometime." - again a nice way to put it to make me feel good. And that was Richie all over...
I tended to like his albums where he did the writing rather than the covers, so i tend to have between the 20 years he did imaginative covers - tho sometimes thru his covers I discovered writers I didn't know, - I'm thinking of his version of Bob Lind's How The Nights Can Fly which got me into Lind. I am going to start a listening quest for all 11 of his albums I own from 67's Mixed Bag to 08's Nobody Left To Crown." If I had to pioint to a favourite Richie song it would be Missing Train from Alarm Clock.
I remember some fun chat between songs.
When I first saw him in the late 80's he said he was going to play a song from the 50s and asked who could remember the 50s. A few hands went up "Oh dear - We're dwindling..." "I'll tell you about the 50s - in the 50s everything, I mean everything...music, politics etc... was dumb. Then there was the 60s - now a lot of things happened in the 60s, man - it was hip to be intelligent, read etc... Then there was the 70s... In the 70's we mosttly spent the time working out what the hell happened in the 60s. Now we're in the 80s - you wanna know abotu the 80s? I'll tell you about the 80s... We've gone back to the 50s!!!"
"Man has spent millions and billions and billions of dollars to put us into space....where we already are!!!"