Solo performer: Odetta (vocals, guitar).
Producer: Dean Glitter.
Reissue producer: David Greenberg.
Includes original release liner notes by Dean Gitter.
ODETTA SINGS BALLADS AND BLUES sounds as remarkable today as it did upon its first release in 1956, as if Paul Robeson, Bessie Smith, and Leadbelly had combined into one voice. Singing in a pure yet husky, classically trained voice, accompanying herself on simple but never simplistic acoustic guitar, Odetta was a major force in the collegiate folk and blues revival of the '50s. Unfortunately, she became so thoroughly identified with that audience that her work has sometimes been dismissed, or merely forgotten, in the decades since.
This excellent reissue, with remastered sound and extensive liner notes, of ODETTA SINGS BALLADS AND BLUES goes a long way toward showing what folly this is. No female folk singer of the era had a more beautiful and expressive voice than Odetta, and her choice of material--heavy on pointed work songs and spirituals but never smugly sanctimonious--was simply exquisite.