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Obit: Odetta has died (1930-2008)

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Mary Katherine 03 Dec 08 - 12:30 AM
alanabit 03 Dec 08 - 12:37 AM
Little Hawk 03 Dec 08 - 12:41 AM
Acme 03 Dec 08 - 12:47 AM
M.Ted 03 Dec 08 - 12:53 AM
Genie 03 Dec 08 - 02:38 AM
Ruth Archer 03 Dec 08 - 03:22 AM
Genie 03 Dec 08 - 03:35 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 03 Dec 08 - 03:49 AM
VirginiaTam 03 Dec 08 - 03:54 AM
Backwoodsman 03 Dec 08 - 04:07 AM
Folkiedave 03 Dec 08 - 04:57 AM
Johnny J 03 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM
Bryn Pugh 03 Dec 08 - 06:00 AM
catspaw49 03 Dec 08 - 06:26 AM
bankley 03 Dec 08 - 06:31 AM
John Minear 03 Dec 08 - 06:39 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 03 Dec 08 - 06:44 AM
bobad 03 Dec 08 - 07:43 AM
Charley Noble 03 Dec 08 - 07:56 AM
kendall 03 Dec 08 - 08:04 AM
SINSULL 03 Dec 08 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Philippa 03 Dec 08 - 08:09 AM
C. Ham 03 Dec 08 - 08:16 AM
CamiSu 03 Dec 08 - 08:52 AM
Jim Dixon 03 Dec 08 - 09:01 AM
Azizi 03 Dec 08 - 09:18 AM
Alice 03 Dec 08 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 03 Dec 08 - 09:27 AM
Dan Schatz 03 Dec 08 - 09:29 AM
Dave Hanson 03 Dec 08 - 09:30 AM
Bill D 03 Dec 08 - 09:33 AM
astro 03 Dec 08 - 09:35 AM
Mark Ross 03 Dec 08 - 09:35 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 03 Dec 08 - 09:48 AM
John on the Sunset Coast 03 Dec 08 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,Stringsinger 03 Dec 08 - 09:59 AM
Tyke 03 Dec 08 - 10:04 AM
frogprince 03 Dec 08 - 10:20 AM
Big Mick 03 Dec 08 - 10:32 AM
Beer 03 Dec 08 - 11:06 AM
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katlaughing 03 Dec 08 - 11:25 AM
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Subject: Obit: Odetta has died
From: Mary Katherine
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 12:30 AM

The New York Times
December 3, 2008

Odetta, Voice of Civil Rights Movement, Dies at 77
By TIM WEINER

Odetta, the singer whose deep voice wove together the strongest songs of American folk music and the civil rights movement, died Tuesday. She was 77.

The cause was heart disease, said her manager, Doug Yeager.

He added that she had been hoping to sing at Barack Obama's inauguration.

Odetta — she was born Odetta Holmes — sang at coffeehouses and Carnegie Hall and released several albums, becoming one of the most widely known and influential folk-music artists of the 1950s and 60s.

Her voice was an accompaniment to the black-and-white images of the freedom marchers who walked the roads of Alabama and Mississippi and the boulevards of Washington in quest of an end to racial discrimination.

Rosa Parks, the woman who started the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Ala., was once asked which songs meant the most to her. She replied, "All of the songs Odetta sings."

Odetta sang at the August 1963 march on Washington, a pivotal event in the civil rights movement. Her song that day was "O Freedom," dating back to slavery days.

Born in Birmingham on Dec. 31, 1930, Odetta Holmes spent her first six years in the depths of the Depression. The music of that time and place — in particular prison song and work songs recorded in the fields of the deep South — shaped her life.

"They were liberation songs," she said in a videotaped interview with The New York Times in 2007, for its online feature "The Last Word." "You're walking down life's road, society's foot is on your throat, every which way you turn you can't get from under that foot. And you reach a fork in the road and you can either lie down and die, or insist upon your life."

Her father, Reuben Holmes, died when she was young; she and her mother, Flora Sanders, who later remarried, moved to Los Angeles in 1937. Three years later, Odetta discovered she could sing.

"A teacher told my mother that I had a voice, that maybe I should study," she recalled. "But I myself didn't have anything to measure it by."

She found her own voice by listening to blues, jazz and folk music from the African-American and Anglo-American traditions. She earned a music degree from Los Angeles City College. Her training in classical music and musical theater was "a nice exercise, but it had nothing to do with my life," she said.

"The folk songs were — the anger," she emphasized.

In a 2005 National Public Radio interview, she said: "School taught me how to count and taught me how to put a sentence together. But as far as the human spirit goes, I learned through folk music."

In 1950, Odetta began singing professionally in a West Coast production of the musical "Finian's Rainbow," but she found a stronger calling in the bohemian coffeehouses of San Francisco. "We would finish our play, we'd go to the joint, and people would sit around playing guitars and singing songs and it felt like home," she said in the 2007 interview with The Times.

She began singing in nightclubs, cutting a striking figure with her guitar and her close-cropped hair. (She noted late in life that she was one of the first black performers in the United States to wear an "Afro" hairstyle — "they used to call it 'the Odetta,'" she said.)

Her voice plunged deep and soared high, and her songs blended the personal and the political, the theatrical and the spiritual. Her first solo album, "Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues," resonated with an audience hearing old songs made new.

"The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta," Bob Dylan said, referring to that record, in a 1978 interview with Playboy. He said he heard "something vital and personal. I learned all the songs on that record." It was her first, and the songs were "Mule Skinner," "Jack of Diamonds," "Water Boy," "'buked and Scorned."

Her blues and spirituals led directly to her work for the civil-rights movement. They were two rivers running together, she said in her interview with The Times. The words and music captured "the fury and frustration that I had growing up." They were heard by the people who were present at the creation of the civil rights movement, people who "heard on the grapevine about this lady who was singing these songs." She played countless benefits; the money she raised underwrote the work of keeping the movement alive.

Her fame hit a peak in 1963, when she marched with Martin Luther King in Selma and performed for President John F. Kennedy. But after King was assassinated in 1968, the wind went out of the sails of the civil-rights movement and the songs of protest and resistance that had been the movement's soundtrack. Odetta's fame flagged for years thereafter. She recorded fewer records, although she performed on stage as a singer and an actor, during the 1970s and 1980s. She revived her career in the 1990s, and thereafter appeared regularly on "A Prairie Home Companion," the popular public-radio show. In 1999 she recorded her first album in 14 years, and that year President Bill Clinton awarded her the National Endowment for the Arts Medal of the Arts and Humanities from. In 2003 she received a "Living Legend" tribute from the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center Visionary Award.

Odetta was married three times: to Don Gordon, to Gary Shead, and, in 1977, to the blues musician Iverson Minter, known professionally as Louisiana Red. The first marriages ended in divorce; Mr. Minter moved to Germany in 1983 to pursue his performing career.

She was singing and performing well into the 21st century, and her influence stayed strong through the decades.

In April 2007, half a century after Mr. Dylan heard her, she was onstage at a Carnegie Hall tribute to Bruce Springsteen. She turned one of his songs, "57 Channels," into a chanted poem, and Mr. Springsteen came out from the wings to call it "the greatest version" of the song he had ever heard.

Reviewing a December 2006 performance, James Reed of the Boston Globe wrote: "Odetta's voice is still a force of nature — something commented upon endlessly as folks exited the auditorium — and her phrasing and sensibility for a song have grown more complex and shaded."

The critic called her "a majestic figure in American music, a direct gateway to bygone generations that feel so foreign today."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died
From: alanabit
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 12:37 AM

Other Mudcatters will know her music much better than I do. But it seems like folk music has lost one of its most iconic figures. May the great lady rest in peace.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 12:41 AM

She was a huge influence on the folk scene in the early 60s. I remember well. She had a truly mighty voice, powerful and passionate.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died
From: Acme
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 12:47 AM

She didn't make it to that concert of a lifetime, but at least she lived long enough to know that it will take place. She will be missed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 12:53 AM

She had more than a voice--she had boundless positive energy--no matter how bleak or hopeless things seemed, you just heard her voice, and it made you believe again.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died
From: Genie
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 02:38 AM

What Stilly said.

It's so sad to lose two such powerful and expressive voices and souls as Miriam Makeba and Odetta so close together. Kind of a one-two punch.   But I'm glad both of these fighters for human rights and equality lived to see history turn the page that's just been turned, with the US 2008 election results.   

The more I think about it, the more outrageous it seems that neither of these two amazing singers made Rolling Stone's recent list of the "One Hundred Greatest Singers Of All Time.

G


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 03:22 AM

Amazing woman. RIP.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Genie
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 03:35 AM

Some wonderful Odetta memories:

Odetta: Cotton Fields

Odetta: You Don't Know My Mind

Odetta: "Keep On Moving It On" - Feb. 2008


Odetta: "Amazing Grace" 2003


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 03:49 AM

Thanks for those, Genie.

Somehow, I think she'll still 'be there' when Barack takes over as President, she and Martin Luther King Jr, both, and more than a few others too.

And yes, it must have been wonderful for her to at least know that the world had changed, her world had changed, in such a dramatic way at long last.

Sad that she didn't get to sing though.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 03:54 AM

Peace to the Lady and blessings on her family, friends and fans. She must have gone on to the most Amazing Place.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 04:07 AM

My earliest influence in folk-music. Introduced to her wonderful voice back in the early '60s by my friend Jack Whyte, himself a fine writer and singer.

She leaves a wonderful legacy of magical performances and deeply-held belief in Truth. We should all thank God for giving her to us.

RIP, great lady.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 04:57 AM

That is a very sad moment for all folk music. I feel so privileged to have seen her sing live - a memory that will stay with both my wife and I forever.

Thanks for the memories.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Johnny J
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM

Really sad news.


She was a major influence in the sixties folk scene and I had the pleasure of hearing her live on a couple of occasions, Tonder 1984 and in Edinburgh about 12 years ago at the first and only Capital Blues Festival.

Even non folkies will surely remember her duet with Harry Belafonte ... "There's a hole in my bucket" which featured regularly on Uncle Mac's Children's favourites. :-)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 06:00 AM

One of my all-time heroines.

May she rest in peace. Her memory will never be forgotten.

I am saddened, to say the least.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 06:26 AM

seconding everything already said and also what hasn't.

Its impossible to sum up in any meaningful way her contribution to folk music in particular and the world in general..........The task is too daunting and even as impossible just to start.

I wish I could ............. Thank you Odetta.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: bankley
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 06:31 AM

glad we met.... swing low


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: John Minear
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 06:39 AM

Surely she touched and sang what is most powerful in this stuff we call "folk music" and embraced so many of us in our early days with the passion of her voice. There will only be one Odetta. I am grateful to have shared a lifetime with her in this world and to have had the privilege of seeing her in person three times and hearing her twice in concert, once in Toronto and once in Ft. Collins, Colorado. And the third time, well, I passed her in the airport at Lynchburg, Virginia, a couple of years ago. She just smiled at our recognition of who she was. May the power of her music continue on.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 06:44 AM

Sad news. We are all poorer for her passing, but her magnificent singing, and her courageous commitment to the cause of justice, are legacies which continue to enrich us all.

Odetta made a stellar contribution to a wonderful music programme fronted by Harry Belafonte, which was shown on British TV around Christmas time in 1960. (It included the famous "Hole in my Bucket" duet, as well as other items of a more serious nature.) For me, and no doubt for many other Brits, that show was a real ear-opener - if the tape is still available, a re-run of it would be an appropriate gesture.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: bobad
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 07:43 AM

Sad to hear, RIP.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 07:56 AM

One fine singer and one fine lady!

I still hear her singing.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: kendall
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 08:04 AM

Although we never met in person, I had the pleasure of being involved in the same project with this giant of the entertainment world.
Many years ago, National Public Radio did a dramatization of a book titled "Country of the pointed firs". Julie Harris played the lead role and I played the Doctor and the fisherman.
The program was called "The Spider's web", and Odetta sang the theme song. Man, what a voice!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: SINSULL
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 08:05 AM

My very first "folk" record included Odetta singing "Wade in the Water". I saw her a few years back at the Chocolate Church. She had lost none of her presence. So sad to lose her.
RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 08:09 AM

Odetta was one of my mother's favourites when I was a child (I listened much more to Tommy Makem and Joan Baez, I admit, though I did like Odetta also)
I was hoping she would make it to the inauguration, even by video link -- maybe they could give her a mention as somebody who was invited but has passed away, and play a recording.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: C. Ham
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 08:16 AM

I got to meet Odetta a couple of times over the years and she was always very warm and friendly. It goes without saying that she was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of our folksingers.

Odetta will never be forgotten.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: CamiSu
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 08:52 AM

I just heard it on Morning Edition. I was so in hope she'd make it to the inauguration.

Was at a VERY interesting after-concert session at Dartmouth, maybe 18 years ago. She spoke straight, and didn't pull any punches.

What a lady.

Cami


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:01 AM

When she sang AMAZING GRACE, she refused to sing one line as written: "...that saved a wretch like me." She changed it to "...a soul like me."

"There ain't no wretches here," she explained to the audience at a folk festival I attended.

She was a dignified lady who stood up for the dignity of all living souls. Bless her.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:18 AM

Odetta, thank you. You live on through your music.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Alice
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:24 AM

What a majestic and powerful lady, I'm very sad to hear this news.

It's hard to find the words. She was amazing.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:27 AM

Years ago, I had an e.p. of Odetta's. I loved her version of "I know where I'm going".


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:29 AM

I remember seeing and hearing her at a Unitarian Universalist General Assembly some years back. She sat on stage with a stick of incense in her guitar headstock and sang one amazing song after another for an hour and fifteen minutes. When she finally stood up and said "Thank you," the applause lasted for several minutes. She came back on stage with a new stick on incense and played for another hour.

What amazing performer, and what a loss.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:30 AM

Just a totally beautiful person.

eric


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:33 AM

This world is better for having had her voice & her spirit in it.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: astro
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:35 AM

Shoot, Desert Dancer and I had tickets to see her a couple of months ago and tickets to see Tom Paley, we saw Tom. I wish now that we could have been in two places at once.....

RIP Odetta....

Astro....


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Mark Ross
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:35 AM

I met her when I was 16 and my best friend Boots Jaffe took me to one of her concerts. She looked on Boots as her son, and he took me backstage to meet her and hang out. Ended up going down to One Sheridan Square to see the Chambers Brothers with her. I would run into her in later years after I started playing in the Village. She would be sitting at the end of the bar on Bleeker Street next to the Bitter End usually. A magnificent performer, the strongest woman I have ever met, an incredible presence! She will be missed. We are losing too many of these people lately.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:48 AM

This is a day that we all knew was coming, yet I am still in shock and disbelief. Alice is right, it is hard to find words - and I don't think there are enough words to express the love we had for this woman and the magnificent gifts that she gave us.

The first time I met Odetta was in the late '70s. She was one of the first interviews that I ever conducted, and you can imagine the incredible sense of honor that I felt when I sat down with her that day. Cami mentioned that she spoke straight and did not pull punches - I can vouch for that! It was fascinating to talk with her and the power of her words in conversation was just as powerful as her legendary voice. What a voice - there was no equal.

Over the years she appeared on WFDU a number of times, often with Shirley Keller who hosted a show on the station during the 1980's and into the 90's. One year, we were holding a benefit concert for WFDU and Odetta agreed to appear - part of a lineup that featured about a dozen artists, but Odetta was obviously the "name" that most people wanted to hear.   The day before the event she called Shirley and informed her that she was recovering from a cold or something and could not sing, but she still wanted to appear. Shirley and I put our heads together and decided to conduct an interview with Odetta on stage. It was fascinating and the audience loved it.   As we neared the end, an audience member shouted out "sing something". Before Shirley and I had a chance to make an excuse, Odetta graciously began singing and received a standing ovation.

The last time I saw her was in Montreal a few years ago when the Folk Alliance honored her at with a lifetime achievement award at their annual concert. She was using a wheelchair by that point, but she still walked to the stage and her power had not diminished. She was singing and performing at concerts right through October, and earlier this summer I had a conversation with her agent about the possibility of presenting her at the Hurdy Gurdy next season.   I don't think anyone expected that she would succumb. Odetta was a powerful woman and I think everyone felt that she would defy the doctors and walk out of that hospital.

While we will have the recordings and memories, it is hard to accept that she is gone. Luckily, all of us who were touched by her spirit will never forget her.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:57 AM

So sorry to hear of her passing (it was that announcement that I woke to when the alarm went on). I think I'll spend part of today listening to some of her LPs. It is sad that she will not be singing at the inauguration of President Obama, as she had wished. RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: GUEST,Stringsinger
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:59 AM

Odetta deserved every bit of success that she earned. She came up the hard way.
I knew her well in L.A.

Her recordings with Tradition label with Bruce Langhorne are classics.

She will be deeply missed and a page has turned in the history of folk music.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Tyke
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 10:04 AM

Amazing woman. RIP.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: frogprince
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 10:20 AM

There hasn't been a living soul with a more absolute claim to be "the real thing" in so many ways. If I still cling to a belief in "just rewards in Heaven", it's as much because of people like her as for my own sake.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Big Mick
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 10:32 AM

Everytime I sit and think about the times I was fortunate enough to live in, I am overwhelmed at the giants that I have lived among. Think about the amazing figures that we have all witnessed the coming and going of. I don't have to list all the names, but the Kennedys, Jean Ritchie, Martin, Malcom, Pete Seeger, Miriam Makeba, all the great civil rights heroes, the great blues and folk singers, you all can fill in the blanks with the names. And as you build that list, right there at the top will be a wee woman with a huge voice, a bigger heart, a presence that made your ears pop when she walked out on stage. She will have taught you lessons about the human condition. She will have made you feel the struggle of the working stiff. Her voice will have reached inside you and made your heart resonate like a tuning fork. And that same voice will have made your soul ring like a bell of finest silver.

She has gotten away from us now, but figures like her never really can leave us. Death really has no power over her kind. Their immortality was insured in the power of the voice, in the power of the message, in the conviction of the words, and in the imprint they leave on the essence of our very being. And so it is with her.

Odetta ..... the very name means wealth. And indeed she was proof that the real wealth of humans lies in the wisdom, talent, toughness, and grace with which they walk the path. In that case, she was riches personified. And we are all the wealthier for having known her. Thank you, Greatest One, for letting me bear witness to such a life as this.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Beer
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 11:06 AM

Sympathies to her love ones.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: GUEST, TJ in San Diego
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 11:10 AM

The very first time I heard her voice, in the late 1950's, I was stunned by the combination of operatic power and depth of soul coming from this amazing woman. She was like no one else, before or since, either in terms of talent or commitment. Music can move mountains, as she proved time and again. Many have described her as a "force of nature." I see her - and hear her - as a force of humanity.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 11:25 AM

I agree, there are too many, recently, whom we are losing. May she enjoy her peace and just rewards for all of the beauty, power, and expressions of Life she brought to the world. Maybe she and Obama's grandma will watch over him on that day in January...so they can still be there.

RIP,

kat


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Arkie
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 11:41 AM

I too had hoped and expected that she would sing for the inauguration. At least she lived to see the election victory. It had to be meaningful and satisfying for her. A true legend and what a legacy! I feel privileged and honored to have met her.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: PoppaGator
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 12:30 PM

I had convinced myself that Odetaa would survive through January and the inauguration ~ her appearance there would have been just perfect. I suppose, now, that the prospect of such an event was literally "too good to be true"; I was shocked and saddened to read of her passing.

I was very surprised to read where Big Mick referred to Odetta as a "wee woman." I never encountered her up close in person, and always assumed she was big and tall. The sound of her recorded voice is, of course, huge, and her presence on the stage was absolutely imposing. It never occurred to be that she might be small in any way, even in the mostly-meaningless physical sense.

I got goosebumps reading through this thread, which doesn't happen very often.

Farewell, Odetta, Rest in Peace.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: open mike
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 12:42 PM

a local d.j. has as his theme song on his show "Woody and Friends" her
version of "This Land is Your Land" and it always brings chills to hear her sing this so powerfully....she will be missed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 12:50 PM

Serious loss!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 01:35 PM

I remember seeing her at one of the outdoor folk music concerts at Lincoln Center. She was leaning over a sawhorse between sets, just chatting with anyone who cared to speak with her. A lady who was both elegant and down to earth. A great presence. May she rest in peace and sing with the angels.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: ClaireBear
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 04:24 PM

I haven't been able to compose myself enough to post here until now. I was so hoping and praying for her to make it to the inauguration. Walk in beauty between the stars, Odetta. Thank you for lending us your powerful voice and strength for so many years.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: topical tom
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 05:08 PM

A wonderful person, a supreme singer, and a most gracious, personable lady has passed on.RIP, Odetta.You will live on wherever free people gather and sing.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Stephen Alcorn
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 06:16 PM

Dear Kat, Azizi, and Virginia:

Thank you, thank you, thank you all for your kind words re my song, and for the thoughtful (and beautifully expressed) insights you've so graciously posted. They are much appreciated.

Incidentally, it may interest you to know that I am in the process of completing a picture book celebrating Odetta's life in music (Odetta: The Queen of Folk; Scholastic; fall, 2009). My ODE TO ODETTA is a part of this project.

Once again, I thank you for your thoughtful comments.

Day is gone.
Gone the Sun.

Long live Odetta,

Stephen

P.S. Those of you wishing to contact me may do so via the following:

The Alcorn Studio & Gallery
112 West Main Street
Cambridge, New York 12816
Telephone: (518) 677-5798
e-mail: stephen.alcorn@verizon.net
http: www.alcorngallery.com

Should you wish to listen to a homespun demo, you may do so via the following links/pages of my website:

LYRICS:

http://www.alcorngallery.com/adesso//media/OdeToOdetta_lyrics.php

MP3 AUDIO DEMO:

http://www.alcorngallery.com/adesso//media/Ode-To-Odetta.mp3

ADESSO page:

http://www.alcorngallery.com/adesso//adesso_mp3_samples.php

And on a purely visual note:

MODERN MUSIC MASTERS cycle of portraits:

http://www.alcorngallery.com/rbp/relief-block-prints.php

The Alcorn Studio & Gallery
112 West Main Street
Cambridge, New York 12816
Telephone: (518) 677-5798

e-mail: stephen.alcorn@verizon.net
http: www.alcorngallery.com

links activated by Muderator


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Tootler
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 07:02 PM

Incredible voice.

I never saw her live, and just once on TV, but I never heard anyone who could create such rhythmic drive with just the voice.

RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Big Mick
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 07:45 PM

Fellow 'Catters, I urge you to go to Stephen Alcorn's site. I will be ordering a number of his block prints over the coming months. Wonderful work, Stephen. I think I am going to be one of your big fans. And be sure to download his Ode to Odetta. It is a wonderful piece of work.

All the best,

Big Mick Lane


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: GUEST,Tom Nelligan
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 09:20 PM

About ten years ago I had a chance to interview her after a gig at the Iron Horse in Northampton, Massachusetts, in connection with an article for "Dirty Linen" magazine. Having seen her before but never having met her, I was expecting a formidable presence and possibly a challenging interview, since I got the impression that she didn't suffer fools and I had a fear of making a slipup. This was reinforced by the way she theatrically skewered a guy whose primordial cellphone rang during the show. She abruptly stopped her song, stared at him, and said something like, "We'll all just wait for a moment while you take that call" while the cellphone guy melted into his seat. In fact, she was sweet and gracious and a complete delight to interview. I remember commenting afterward to the club manager about how nice she was. He said she reminded him of his granny.

Rest in peace, Miss Odetta.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 10:15 PM

NPR had a nice remembrance by Daniel Zwerdling today on All Things Considered.

"All Things Considered, December 3, 2008 - Activist and singer Odetta has died. She was 77 years old. When you talk to some of the most famous singers in America, they'll tell you she inspired the way they sing. In fact, Bob Dylan once said that the first thing that turned him on to folk singing was Odetta. But Odetta was far more than a folk singer when she died from kidney failure and heart disease yesterday in New York.

The moment you saw and heard Odetta, there was no way you could forget her. She stood on the stage, back in her prime, like a lioness. Strong body. Strong stance. Short, short hair. Big earrings jangling like swords. One moment she'd grimace like something was hurting.

Then suddenly Odetta would smile. And you'd melt. ...."

There are several links there to a 2005 interview, YouTube performances, music to purchase, and more.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Effsee
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 11:03 PM

So sad to hear this. She hoped, even when stricken with this latest illness, to sing at Obama's inauguration. At least she lived long enough to know of the great sea change in USA that it could happen.
RIP for a great lady and wonderful performer.
Condolences for her family.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: GUEST,Sing-Along Steve
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 11:11 PM

The one and only thing I can say is that I have yet, to this day, after 35 years, to read an article about folk music that has not name-checked Odetta. Period. Although I am really unfamiliar with her music in specific, I have been a scholar (of sorts) of music as it relates to social change for many years now, and Odetta has always been named as basically the foundation stone of the structure that is socially-aware song.

If we all live as long as she did and survive the coming years with even a shred of the respect, love and dignity that she amassed, we will all be blessed indeed.

RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Art Thieme
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 11:25 PM

1959--Chicago--My first serious girlfriend insisted we go to the Gate Of Horn folk club to hear something called "an Odetta." After one set, I was hooked. And 20 years later I was opening shows for the grand Odetta at the Quiet Knight----another Chicago club. Sure, I loved her voice--but please, people, LISTEN closely to that guitar---those rhythms---and the picking!!! "I'm Goin' Back To The Red Clay Country" -- the duet of "Santy Ano" with Larry Mohr on the old Tin Angel LP. Wow! That's all there is to say. I am surely glad I got to hear her.

And then, years and years later, 1980, in the woods near Stevens Point, Wisconsin, we had a folksingers Rendezvous to try to become more business like in this strange folk trade we were in. We formed the advocacy group there called HEY RUBE because it was hard times U.S.A. -- yet again. At one point, we just NEEDED a break from the serious talk. Some of us became members of a second group that week too. It was called THE FAT FOLKSINGERS OF AMERICA. The membership card featured a drawing of Wimpy eating a hamburger. And the motto of the group was, "I MAY BE FAT, BUT I'M NOT STUPID." --- Among other things, as an initiation you had to TELL ODETTA THAT SHE WAS A MEMBER!!!----

Nobody wanted to do that. That's how formidable Odetta was in real life. She was simply a magnificent flame of life with a voice that hit you like Thor's tool of choice---both thunderous and as celestial as a hammer-dulcimer too.

One guy did, I was told, have the nerve to give a membership card to her --- and also, show her the secret handshake. (Hiking up your pants at the belt with the left hand while shaking hands with the right.) Do ya wanna guess who that guy was??? (SCROLL DOWN!)







Dave Van Ronk -- of course.

Odetta, rest peacefully; And Thank you!!
Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 09:35 AM

This Sunday I will be dedicating my three hour radio program to Odetta. I will be joined by former WFDU radio host Shirley Keller who was a good friend of Odetta's and traveled a bit with her in the 1980's. We may have a few other guests as well. We will be sharing memories, playing a lot of great music as well as archival interviews with Odetta from our archives. WFDU-FM's TRADITIONS airs from 3 to 6pm on WFDU-FM, 89.1 in the NYC area and streaming on the web at www.wfdu.fm .


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: JJ
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 09:40 AM

I saw her at West Virginia University sometime in the late Sixties. I treasure her LP of "Ballad for Americans." And she always credited her old friend from high school, Jo Mapes, with getting her into folk music.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 12:07 PM

Never heard her in person, but I am haunted this week by the sight and sound of her singing 'This Little Light of Mine'. And it wasn't just a song, it was a statement of purpose, and I think it was also advice and comfort for all of us.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: voyager
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 12:57 PM

Here's the NY Time retrospective & recent interview with Odetta -

Odetta Tribute - NY Times Interview

I'm On My Way
voyager


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Stephen Alcorn
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 10:55 PM

Thank you for your kind words, Big Mick.

I have been an admirer of Odetta's for as long as I can remember. I was fortunate to have come of age in a household that revolved, quite literally, around the arts. One of my earliest childhood memories is of my Mother listening to Odetta Sings The Blues. So her music has been a presence throughout my entire life. In my mind she has always been synonymous with a particularly momentous period in history, and the very embodiment of a certain proud, righteous indignation in the face of social injustice.

A few years ago I started making portraits of her, purely for my own satisfaction; I began to cultivate the notion of celebrating her life in music in picture book form. Somehow my portraits had been brought her attention; apparently she was quite taken with the portraits I was making at the time of several of the seminal blues musicians. We soon began to communicate, at first via telephone, then in person.

I will never forget the first time I met with her to discuss the project. When I arrived at her doorstep, she greeted me wearing the most beautiful African headdress and flowing cape; and on her feet were the most brilliant lavender shoes. When I complimented her on them, she smiled. then chuckled, and said , "well, I thought it only appropriate that I wear them for you today, seeing that you aim to do a PICTURE BOOK about me, right?". She was that cool.

Odetta would go on to bless Sabina and I (and our two daughters) with her friendship, her artistry, her insight, her wisdom, her courage, her pride, her generosity (we were her guests at many a concert)... and her sense of belonging to the human race--and to the Universe at large (of which she was, I believe, quite in awe). She taught by example.

I am so glad that she had a chance to see the book actually materialize. (In a matter of weeks it will go into production.) I am especially grateful that she managed to perform almost up until the very end (why only six weeks ago she sang to a crowd of 100,000 people in San Ffrancisco), and... that she lived long enough to see Obama actually be elected President (AND be the one invited to sing at his inauguration!).

I hope the above puts into some proper context our particular bond with Odetta.

Thank you all for sharing your remembrances of Odetta, Thank you for letting me share.

Stephen

The Alcorn Studio & Gallery
112 West Main Street
Cambridge, NY 12816
Tel. (518) 677-5798
e-mail: stephen.alcorn@verizon.net
on the web: www.alcorngallery.com


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: CapriUni
Date: 07 Dec 08 - 03:56 PM

When she walked out on stage, she took over that space, whether it was an enclosed theater, or an outdoor stage at a festival, she owned that space. And she had the sweetest, richest, deepest, voice I've ever heard, both in terms of its timbre, and the things it had to say.

I was in the front row of an outdoor concert, when I heard her introduce an old folksong from the South this way (may be paraphrased by memory):

"There's a proverb in the South that says you should never trust a crowing hen, or a whilstling woman; *Whistles the tune of the song*"

{sigh}


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (2 December 2008)
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 08 Dec 08 - 12:30 PM

Odetta introduced me to the genre of "Work Songs". They remain a central part of my musical life. She truly proved that music can change others. Rest in Peace, Odetta.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Obit: Odetta has died (1930-2008)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Aug 17 - 02:06 AM

I came across this National Public Radio piece (click) about Odetta while looking for something else this evening. It's worth a listen.
-Joe-


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