Wednesday, 3 December 2008
some years ago i went to see odetta at the triptych festival in glasgow. she was tiny compared to the big strong woman i had seen singing 'water boy' in martin scorsese's bob dylan documentary 'no direction home', but her voice was impressive and her stage presence bordered on intimidating.
at the beginning of the evening she gave photographers a couple of minutes to take photos of her, telling them that was it: no photographs during the rest of her performance. when halfway through someone couldn't resist and ignored her request she stopped the show to reprimand him. i can't remember her exact words but i do remember that they were softly spoken and mortifying.
she was very entertaining; reminiscing about musicians she'd played with and making political and even sexual references. she played the audience like a strict teacher does her doting pupils.
odetta passed away yesterday at the age of 77.