Wednesday, December 3, 2008

ODETTA 1930 - 2008

It seems I'm doing this too often, writing these memorials to people whose voices and music informed me and my generation. It's not an exaggeration to say they helped make many of us who we are, and I, for one, feel their passing as much as I would those of close family members, if not more. I was not aware of Odetta's health problems, so was shocked to hear of her death this morning at the too-young age of 78.

I just missed seeing her perform in early 1965 when she toured to the University of Kentucky. I had left the University for one semester, and missing her was one of the many reasons I regretted the decision to leave. Friends who saw her described a towering vision in a sweeping white gown and a headdress, illuminated by single spotlight. I've kept that imagined vision in my mind all these years.

Odetta's public posture and stentorian voice gave her a burden of "Great Personhood" for her entire career. These two selections catch her just having fun. This one, "Baby, I'm In The Mood For You," is from my favorite of her albums, Odetta Sings Dylan, 1965.

MP3 File


Anonymous said...

And time for another thank you for a wonderful tribute to Odetta.

While it is a truism that as we move on, our world becomes smaller - yet, we have been gifted with many blessings from Odetta.

She lives on in her words and music.

Linda (SE PA) said...

Oops this has been happening to me - I've been having problems posting now and then,

Above post from me
Linda (SE PA)

Ralph said...

Thought maybe it was you, Linda, but I'm glad you told me anyway. So happy you appreciate the post.

Jeff said...

I'd heard of Odetta but didn't hear - or don't remember - her music. Then the obits started appearing along with her music.

Thanks for your post Ralph - great talent. I heard her doing House of the Rising Sun on another site - YouTube here:

Ralph said...

Jeff, thank you so much for that youtube link. A classic moment. I was riveted and will share it further. I'm sorry you didn't know Odetta until now, but at least you do now....