Odetta is one of the most influential artists of the
20th Century. Artists interviewed over the last two years by Folk Music Archives
Odetta as the single most important
influence in their musical career.
Bob Dylan was inspired by Odetta - - in 1956 her album,
"ODETTA Sings Ballads & Blues," inspired him to trade in his
electric guitar for a Gibson acoustic guitar. It is long over due that Dylan and
Odetta perform together - - a fitting tribute to folk - blues and
music. Her voice continues to enrich our lives.
Odetta's most recent album "Blues Everywhere I Go"
was nominated for a Grammy Award. Ageless, her voice rings out
with the passion of the 50's and 60's. Her new CD
"ODETTA - Lookin' For A Home" affirms that early in her career
she was referred to as the "female Leadbelly."
Pete Seeger said, "The first time I heard Odetta sing
she sang "Take This Hammer" and I went and told her how I wish
Leadbelly was still alive so he could have heard her." Pete elaborates further
from liner notes on "ODETTA - Looking For A Home"
Photo of Odetta performing on WC Handy Awards3 PBS- TV Special. Photo Credit: JT Lotozo,
The Columbus Blues Alliance©
Provided by: Doug Yeager, Yeager
"TAKE THIS HAMMER" :
Prison and work song, Words and
Music by Huddie Ledbetter [Leadbelly]; Collected and Adapted by John A. Lomax
and Alan Lomax; Publisher: Folkways Music Publishers, Inc.
"I don't want your cold iron shackles"
what man has done to man
"Hurts my pride - hurts my pride"
. . . and continues to do in one form or another
Folk Music Archives
will be interviewing Odetta in
New York or at the Library of Congress early in 2002. This will be a very
special interview and "Voice Clips"
featured this page. The entire interview will be part of the permanent
collection of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center.
born in Alabama and grew up in Los Angeles. She was training for a classical and
operatic career until a visit to a San Francisco Bay coffee house featuring folk music
awakened her interest.
Following a long engagement at the Tin Angel, she was booked in New York at The
Blue Angel. Odetta was embraced by the Greenwich Village folk community. She was
soon to appear with Harry Belafonte at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall shows with
Pete Seeger. Odetta has recorded 27 albums and was awarded the
Presidential Medal of Arts in 1999.
Photo: Folk Music Archives Collection: Folk
and Minstrelsy, The Classic Record Library, A Vanguard
featuring: Joan Baez; The
Deller Consort; Bob
Gibson; Cicco Houston; Ed
McCurdy; Alan Mills; Odetta; Leon Bibb; Jimmy
Driftwood; Ronnie Gilbert; Ewan
MacColl; Tom Makem; John Jacob Niles; Pete Seeger and The
Weavers. Copyright 1962.
In 1957 The New York Times
wrote: "a striking contralto voice . . . one
suspects she will be heard from increasingly in the future."
Odetta was born Odetta
Gordon, December 31, 1930, in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2001a review proclaimed:
"her voice is as strong and impressive as ever."
Her new album, entitled
"ODETTA - Lookin' For A Home" is
comprised of 15 songs either written or made famous by Leadbelly, including such
classics as "Midnight Special," "Rock Island Line," "Goodnight
Irene," Alabama Bound," "Boll Weevil" and "Where Did You Sleep Last
Night (In The Pines)."
Folk Music Archives is indebted to Doug Yeager, Douglas A. Yeager
Productions (212) 245-0240 for his support and encouragement. This historic
archival project would not be complete without Odetta.
Best said by Maya Angelou:
"Thank you Odetta, for continuing to define and enlighten