Odetta (vcl), Buck Clayton (tp), Vic Dickenson (tb), Herb Hall, Buster Bailey (cl), Dick Wellstood (p), Sonny Terry (harmonica), Ahmed Abdul-Malik, Leonard Gaskin (b), 'Shep' Shepard, Panama Francis (d)
Reference: FSRCD 829
Acknowledged as an influence by singers as disparate as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, Janis Joplin and Carly Simon, singer Odetta Holmes (1930-2008), better known as Odetta, was widely admired for the passionate commitment she brought to everything she did. That and much more is abundantly clear in the way she poured heart and soul into these songs drawn from the classic blues repertoire and what used to be referred to as the Negro folk songbook. Blessed with dramatic ability and an innate sense of the meaning of each song, she absorbed it into her personality, singer and song fused into one. And though her voice was ideal for the slow, weighty blues of 1920s blues singers like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, she made the material her own, with no attempt at re-creation.
Throughout this venture into the blues she was also blessed in the firstclass accompaniment provided by the musicians led on these early 1960s sessions by pianist and arranger Dick Wellstood. For them he drew on the considerable talents of such jazzmen as Buck Clayton, Vic Dickenson, Herb Hall (brother of fellow clarinetist Edmond Hall), Buster Bailey and the inimitable Sonny Terry, among others. Their empathy shines through every track on a fine example of her art.
01. Hard, Oh Lord (Traditional) 4:05
02. Believe Ill Go (Traditional) 3:02
03. Oh, Papa (Traditional) 3:15
04. How Long, How Long Blues (Carr) 2:07
05. Hogans Alley (Black Eye Blues) (Trad.) 2:09
06. Leavin this Mornin (Davis-Rainey) 2:46
07. Oh, My Babe (Rainey) 4:21
08. Yonder Come the Blues (Davis-Rainey) 2:48
09. Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor (Trad.) 3:47
10. Weeping Willow Blues (Dowell) 2:35
11. Go Down Sunshine (Traditional) 2:18
12. Nobody Knows You When
Youre Down and Out (Cox) 2:19
13. Gonna Take My Time (Traditional) 2:02
14. Stranger Here (Traditional) 3:18
15. Ive Been Living with the Blues
16. Be My Woman (Odetta) 2:38
17. Poor Man (Odetta) 2:54
18. Empty Pocket Blues (Seeger-Hays) 3:26
19. I Just Cant Keep from Cryin
(Blind Lemon Jefferson) 2:19
20. Special Delivery (Traditional) 2:47
21. If I Had Wings (Odetta) 3:52
22. Darlin Baby (Johnson) 2:49
23. Misery Blues (Cox) 2:55
24. House of the Rising Sun (Trad.) 3:37
Tracks #1-12, from the Riverside album
"Odetta and the Blues" (RLP9417)
Tracks #13-24, from the RCA Victor album
"Sometimes I Feel Like Cryin" (LSP-2573)
Odetta, vocals, accompanied by
Buck Clayton, trumpet; Vic Dickenson, trombone; Herb Hall, clarinet; Dick Wellstood, piano; Ahmed Abdul-Malik, bass; 'Shep' Shepard, drums.
Recorded in New York City, April 11 & 12, 1962
Sonny Terry, harmonica; Dick Wellstood, piano; Leonard Gaskin, bass; Panama Francis, drums.
Recorded in New York City, on April 19, 1962
Buck Clayton, trumpet; Vic Dickenson, trombone; Buster Bailey, clarinet; Dick Wellstood, piano; Leonard Gaskin, bass; Panama Francis, drums.
Recorded in New York City, April 25 & 26, 1962
Buck Clayton (only on #23); Dick Wellstood, piano; Ahmed Abdul-Malik, bass; Panama Francis, drums.
Recorded in New York City, on April 27, 1962
Originally produced by: Orrin Keepnews (Riverside)
and George Avakian & Neely Plumb (RCA Victor)
Engineer: Bob Simpson (RCA) & Bob Arnold (Riverside)
Cover design & photos: Ken Dearfoff (Riverside)
David B. Hecht (RCA Victor)
This CD release produced by Jordi Pujol
Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
-Odetta and The Blues
"Odetta earned her rep singing traditional folk in the mid-'50s before the American folk revival got underway with the Kingston Trio and "Tom Dooley" in 1958. Unlike many of her contemporaries, however, she had a habit of going her own way from time to time. One of Odetta's most interesting deviations from straight folk, and one that caused a bit of contention among her more conservative contemporaries, was Odetta and the Blues, released by Riverside in 1962. Drawing from classic female blues singers like Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith, and Ma Rainy, she traded in her acoustic guitar for a six-piece jazz band featuring trumpeter Buck Clayton, trombonist Vic Dickenson, clarinetist Herb Hall, pianist Dick Wellstood, bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and drummer Shep Shepherd. The results are so convincing that if one didn't know who Odetta was or what time period she sang in, it would be easy to believe she had been a classic blues singer. From the upbeat New Orleans jazz of "Believe I'll Go" to the down-home blues of "Oh, My Babe," Odetta and the Blues is a fun, inspired, and surprising album. Odetta gives full range to her magnificent voice, providing a fresh makeover to old favorites like "Yonder Comes the Blues," while trumpet, trombone, and clarinet work offers lively, vivacious accompaniment. In many ways, Odetta and the Blues isn't the typical Odetta album, but it is an excellent portrait of an artist who refused to be boxed in by the assumed aesthetic of her time."
Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. -All Music Guide
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