Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008

R.I.P. Odetta

By Evan Rytlewski
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Folk legend Odetta passed away last night at age 77. Here's the canned Associated Press obituary; here's a more personal one from Idolator.

Odetta experienced a slight but distinct resurgence several years ago, when a stunning clip of her singing "Water Boy" was featured in the Bob Dylan No Direction Home documentary alongside high praise of the singer. That Dylan so frequently cited Odetta as an influence has always been a bit perplexing to me, given how little the two shared in common. Dylan always struck me as a meek and cautious compared to her:



Though her voice lost some of its power in later years, it never lost its richness. Here's an intimate performance of "House of the Rising Sun" from 2005:

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