Odetta Holmes, 31 December 1930, Birmingham, Alabama. d. 2 December 2008, New York, New York. This legendary folk singer moved to Los Angeles when she was six, adopting the surname of her new stepfather, Felious. A classically trained vocalist, Odetta sang in the chorus of the 1947 Broadway production of Finians Rainbow, before opting for a career in folk music. Successful residencies in San Francisco clubs, the Hungry i and Tin Angel, inspired interest in New York circles although her early releases revealed a still maturing talent. She had been brought up in the blues tradition, but moved increasingly towards folk during the late 50s (she sung jazz and blues for the RCA Records and Riverside Records labels, and, only occasionally, folk for Tradition Records). Her blues was sung in the Bessie Smith tradition, but without the same level of emotion. Nevertheless, she recorded standards including House Of The Rising Sun and Make Me A Pallet On...
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