Saturday, November 28, 2009

Odetta- "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement"

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Odetta Holmes, (December 31, 1930 – December 2, 2008), known as Odetta, was an American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a human rights activist, often referred to as "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement". Her musical repertoire consisted largely of American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals. An important figure in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, she was influential musically and ideologically to many of the key figures of the folk-revival of that time, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin.
Find out more about her amazing life here :)
Odetta influenced generations of performers, from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen.
Harry Belafonte "cited her as a key influence" on his musical career.
Bob Dylan, who said, "The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta. I heard a record of hers [Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues] in a record store, back when you could listen to records right there in the store. Right then and there, I went out and traded my electric guitar and amplifier for an acoustical guitar, a flat-top Gibson. ... [That album was] just something vital and personal. I learned all the songs on that record. It was her first and the songs were:- Mule Skinner, Waterboy", Jack of Diamonds, (I've Been) 'Buked and (I've Been) Scorned."
In 1965, Odetta recorded an album of Dylan covers, Odetta Sings Dylan.
Joan Baez said "Odetta was a goddess. Her passion moved me. I learned everything she sang."
Janis Joplin - "Janis spent much of her adolescence listening to Odetta, who was also the first person Janis imitated when she started singing".
Thomas Winslow and his daughter Thomasina Winslow, the Blues musicians, heralded her influence to their music.[citation needed]
Poet Maya Angelou once said "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."
John Waters's original screenplay for Hairspray mentions her as an influence on beatniks.
Carly Simon cites Odetta as a major influence, and talks about "going weak in the knees" when she had the opportunity to meet her in Greenwich Village.

Odetta Speaks About Her Life As An Activist:

Odetta - "Keep On Moving It On"....February 2008:
Odetta sings at the Thresholds Arts Festival in Des Moines. A major influence on Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and others....she looks frail, sitting in a wheel chair - but looks are deceiving, she can still carry her own.

Tennessee Ernie Ford and Odetta - What A Friend We Have:
An Exclusive TEF Enterprises MemoryClip From The Ford Show Archives

Odetta Live in concert 2005, "House of the Rising Sun":
We were lucky enough to record Odetta on one of her most energetic and powerful nights in a long time.

Odetta and Johnny Cash:
Odetta on "The Johnny Cash Show," August 30, 1969. The first song she performs is based on a Negro "field blues" song known simply as "Black Woman," then duets with Cash on "Shame And Scandal In The Family," which was written by a calypso artist who went by Sir Lancelot, in the 40s.

Dr.John & Odetta-Brother Can You Spare a Dime:
This oldie was originally written during the depression (1931) by Yip Harburg, who was later blacklisted during the McCathy era. This Spadecaller video updates its relevance to the poor and disenfranchised prevalent in our nation today.

Odetta sings "Glory Halleluja":
Odetta sings "Glory Halleluja" at "Satyagraha: Gandhi's 'Truth Force' in the Age of Climate Change" presented by the Garrison Institute on April 13, 2008 at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City.

Odetta "Amazing Grace":
Odetta sings at Philly folk fest in summer of '03. Good Stuff!

Related Post:
Utah Phillips-Legendary Folk Musician and Labor Activist

1 comment:

  1. She was wonderful. It's so good that you brought all this information and the videos together.