- Released: October 25, 1990
- Label: Vanguard Records
- 1.If I Had A Hammer
- 2.When I Was A Young Girl
- 3.Gallows Pole
- 4.God's A-Gonna Cut You Down
- 5.John Riley
- 6.Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho
- 7.All The Pretty Little Horses
- 8.Prettiest Train
- 9.Meetin' At The Building
- 10.No More Auction Block For Me
- 11.Hold On
- 12.Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
- 13.Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down
- 14.Santy Anno
- 15.Another Man Done Gone
- 16.Spoken Intro / He Had A Long Chain On
- 17.He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
- 18.Take This Hammer
- 19.Ox-Driver Song
- 20.What Month Was Jesus Born In?
- 21.Timber (Jerry)
Personnel: Odetta (vocals, guitar); Bill Lee (acoustic bass); Choir of the Church of the Master (background vocals).
Recorded live at Carnegie Hall, New York. Originally released 2 separate LPs.
Odetta possesses one of popular music's great voices. With classical training as part of her background, Odetta turned to folk music and found her success in the folk clubs of the late '50s. Combining the hodge podge of previous influences with gospel and blues roots, she created a vocal sound that has rarely been matched: a booming, husky voice, drenched in deep emotion and power, with an unparalleled timbre, pitch and sense of phrasing.
THE ESSENTIAL ODETTA offers the larger-than-life presence an opportunity to showcase her many styles. Her takes on traditional folk classics, contemporary folk gems, gospel hymns, work songs, spirituals, lullabies, and the blues are all included. The instrumentation on this live recording is sparse--she is backed only by a string bass, a church choir, and her own distinctive rhythm guitar. Some of her most spirited work is included on this set--gut-wrenching universe shakers like "Santy Anno," "Another Man Done Gone" and the a capella "God's A-Gonna Cut You Down." These are the definitive interpretations of the twenty-one songs presented on THE ESSENTIAL ODETTA.