Thursday, December 4, 2008

Odetta (1930 - 12/2/08)

The legendary and much-honored folk and blues singer, civil rights supporter and social justice activist who went by the name Odetta (born Odetta Holmes in Alabama) died this week in New York City at the age of 77. She had a long and respected career, receiving the admiration of everyone from a teen-age Janis Joplin to Pete Seeger to Presidents. (And maybe kings). Many of the most famous folk, rock, and modern singers in recent years have cited Odetta as an influence and inspiration including Bob Dylan, who said Odetta was the first singer who turned him on to folk singing. Janis Joplin was a big fan, as were Harry Belafonte and Joan Baez.

"If only one could be sure that every 50 years a voice and a soul like Odetta's would come along, the centuries would pass so quickly and painlessly we would hardly recognize time." (Maya Angelou)

And here she sings a great song, "Another Man Done Gone," about an Alabama chain gang.

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