Ode to Odetta

Odetta, Freedom’s Voice, Dies at 77

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

From the NY Times via News Alert email.  No article has been posted yet.

VDP performed on the same stage as Odetta not more than two months ago at Royce Hall in Los Angeles at a concert to celebrate McCabes Guitar Shop.  I posted about it here.

Here is Odetta at that event:

odetta Sherry Rayn Barnett took some great pictures that evening which you can view here.

One of Odetta’s many great recordings:

Sail Away Ladies

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Ode to Odetta

  1. thanks for the news …

  2. Oh Odetta, sing for me
    Take me across that deep blue sea
    Back to the Garden whence we came
    Back to the spring of your sweet refrain
    “All the way to freedom land…
    All the way to freedom land”
    Across the skies and back through time
    Back to the cradle of humankind

    Oh Odetta, sing for me
    Take me across that deep blue sea

    She was a force of nature, second to none
    Earth, wind and fire rolled into one
    Rolling thunder across the sky
    Sweet Black Angel from on high
    Mighty river crisscrossin’ our land
    Inviting everyone to stand hand-in-hand
    To gather ’round and sing a song
    Of hope and redemption–it won’t be long

    Oh Odetta, sing for me
    Take me across that deep blue sea

    You can trace her song to the heart of the South
    One New Year’s Eve and the cry from a mouth
    Of a big baby girl, strong and sweet
    To a tear of joy on a Mama¹s cheek
    What’s in a name? Father Time do tell
    So her folks made sure to choose a name well
    The name Odetta, akin to melody,
    Foretold a future–a destiny

    Oh Odetta, sing for me
    Take me across that deep blue sea

    Odetta, she could sing before she could talk
    Odetta, she could dance before she could walk
    The gift of music flows through her veins
    And bursts at the seams like a runaway train
    Classically trained right from the start
    Along came the music that stole her heart
    Music of the people, music of the land
    Pure and simple–noble and grand

    Oh Odetta, sing for me
    Take me across that deep blue sea

    Straight from the “Bam” she moved out to L.A.
    Then it was on to the ‘Frisco Bay
    She joined a theater, and started to sing
    Then picked up a guitar and let it ring
    Her Fate was sealed when she was still young
    A folk musician she would become
    To souls of the past she¹d lend her voice
    May their spirits arise–and may they rejoice

    Oh Odetta, sing for me
    Take me across that deep blue sea

    With an Afro like a halo, she could be seen
    All decked out like an African Queen
    And just about the time she was being discovered
    The glory of her people was recovered
    People flocked in to catch the new sound
    As it traveled by train from town to town
    Guided by a spirit that beamed a light
    Black Is Beautiful–Right Is Might!

    Oh Odetta, sing for me
    Take me across that deep blue sea

    Arriving in the Village, she was given the keys
    And greeted with bows on bended knees
    Within weeks she was proclaimed
    The Queen of Folk, and to this day she remains
    The Mother Hen of folk musicians
    The guardian angel of a sacred tradition
    Casting her spell both day and night
    Bridging the gap between black and white

    Oh Odetta, sing for me
    Take me across that deep blue sea

    One fine hour back in ‘63
    Odetta sang her famous Freedom Trilogy
    By her side stood Martin Luther King
    His “I Have A Dream” speech about to take wing
    And to the whole world she sang with pride
    Of freedom sought and freedom denied
    As centuries of trials, troubles and tribulations
    Gave rise to the dream of a… United Nation!

    Oh Odetta, sing for me
    Take me across that deep blue sea

    Oh Odetta, sing for me
    Take me across that deep blue sea
    Back to the Garden whence we came
    Back to the spring of your sweet refrain
    “All the way to freedom land…
    All the way to freedom land”
    Across the skies and back through time
    Back to the cradle of Humankind
    …Humankind
    …Humankind

    And before I’ll be a slave
    I’ll be buried in my grave.

    •••

    — “Ode To Odetta”
    Words and music by Stephen Alcorn ©2008

    •••

    Kindly share with friends and family.

    Peace,

    Stephen

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

  3. daniel

    wild,

    sad I missed you when you came to NYC for Jan & Jan’s celebration! I was randomly in belgium.

    anyway I wanted you to know that I love your blog. it is amazing. I also love odetta. she introduced me to deep blue sea.

    you are cool

    ok bye

    Daniel

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