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Tribute to Odetta.

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7.30 Report Tribute to Odetta


Tribute to Odetta

Broadcast: 04/12/2008


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Finally tonight the music world is mourning the death of singer Odetta at the age of 77, whose interpretation of blues, spirituals, work songs and traditionals in the '60s inspired some of the greats such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin.

Odetta was a powerful voice in the Civil Rights Movement and was due to perform at Barack Obama's inauguration in January.

Here is a tribute mentioned by Martin Luther King as the queen of American folk music.

(excerpt of archival footage, 'Sunday Afternoon' ABC TV 1995)

ODETTA (singing):

All by myself

Listening to everybody else

Everybody saying do you like everybody else

Now I see.

It was through folk music that I started learning the history of my folks as black people in the United States, and a history that was not taught in school.

It gave me a strength; it straightened my back, and it kinked my hair. What is called a natural or an afro today used to be called an Odetta. I cut my hair and washed it and left it.


Wear your dress in the latest style

Many fishes in a brook

Papa caught them in a hook

Mamma fried them in a pan

Baby eat like a man

Preacher in the pulpit preaching like a man

Trying to get to heaven on electric fan

Do your best papa daddy

Do your best

(end of excerpt)

KERRY O'BRIEN: The late Odetta.

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