Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Remembering Odetta

Odetta died at the age of 77 yesterday.

From the New York Times obituary:

Bob Dylan, referring to [her first solo album, Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues], said in a 1978 interview, “The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta.” He said he heard something “vital and personal,” and added, “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.”
She performed at Miller Theatre my freshman year of college in a tribute to Paul Robeson that also featured Pete Seeger. As the Artist's Assistant that day, I had the duty and honor of escorting her from the green room to the dressing room at one point. Walking with her through the dank and dim rear corridor, I distinctly noticed that there was something about her presence and stature that brought class and shine to that humble hallway.

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