So long, Odetta

It was good to hear Odetta Holmes Felious Gordon’s songs. In high school, my friend Peter and I sat in his bedroom and listened to her version of “Nobody Knows you When You’re Down and out” as the old Vanguard label spun on the turntable, debating whether it was really folk music. In retrospect, Peter’s argument should have trumped my adolescent puritanical case; it was just music and it was good.

As many of us benefited from her singing, we also benefited from her activism. Our times are better for Odetta having lived and worked.


  • Los Angeles (CA) Times obituary;
  • An extended multimedia interview with Odetta from the New York (NY, US); Times, which starts with a snippet of “Nobody Knows you…”:
  • NPR remembrance and interview from December 2005 (also, see related stories, linked there);
  • National Visionary Leadership Project entry (lots of video clips);
  • Wikipedia entry;

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Filed under Civil rights, Equity, News, Tunes

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