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Odetta

A Life in Music and Protest

Author: Ian Zack

The first in-depth biography of the legendary singer and “Voice of the Civil Rights Movement,” who combatted racism and prejudice through her music.

Odetta channeled her anger and despair into some of the most powerful folk music the world has ever heard. Through her lyrics and iconic persona, Odetta made lasting political, social, and cultural change.

A leader of the 1960s folk revival, Odetta is one of the most important singers of the last hundred years. Her music has influenced a huge number of artists over many decades, including Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, the Kinks, Jewel, and, more recently, Rhiannon Giddens and Miley Cyrus.

But Odetta’s importance extends far beyond music. Journalist Ian Zack follows Odetta from her beginnings in deeply segregated Birmingham, Alabama, to stardom in San Francisco and New York. Odetta used her fame to bring attention to the civil rights movement, working alongside Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, and other artists. Her opera-trained voice echoed at the 1963 March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery march, and she arranged a tour throughout the deeply segregated South. Her “Freedom Trilogy” songs became rallying cries for protesters everywhere.

Through interviews with Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, Judy Collins, Carly Simon, and many others, Zack brings Odetta back into the spotlight, reminding the world of the folk music that powered the civil rights movement and continues to influence generations of musicians today.
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“Fascinating . . . . Odetta fans will delight in this timely biography.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Those unaware of her work will be compelled to learn more. An illuminating, stirring biography of the extraordinary ‘Queen of American Folk.’”
Library Journal, Starred Review

“A thoughtful portrait of an artist who never quite became as famous as she deserved to be . . . A much needed biography of a crucial American artist and activist.”
Booklist, Starred Review

“An effective biography that demonstrates Odetta’s wide, deep legacy.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Ian Zack has captured the essence of one of music’s most legendary icons. Odetta is a definitive and revelatory biography, truly worthy of the queen herself.”
—Ronald D. Cohen, coauthor of Roots of the Revival and Folk City

“An absorbing portrait of a seminal artist. Odetta was my Queen.”
—Joan Baez, musician and activist

Author’s Note

PROLOGUE
A Voice Like Thunder

CHAPTER ONE
From Birmingham to Los Angeles

CHAPTER TWO
Straightened My Back, Kinked My Hair

CHAPTER THREE
The Toast of New York

CHAPTER FOUR
Getting Political

CHAPTER FIVE
The Fuse Is Lit

CHAPTER SIX
TV Sensation

CHAPTER SEVEN
That Lovely Odetta . . . Playing a Murderess

CHAPTER EIGHT
Enter Bob Dylan

CHAPTER NINE
In the Heart of Jim Crow

CHAPTER TEN
March Music

CHAPTER ELEVEN
The Times They Are A-Changin’

CHAPTER TWELVE
Freedom Gets Personal

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Hit or Miss

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
Blues Everywhere I Go

EPILOGUE
“Who Will Be the Odetta of Now?”

Acknowledgments
Selected Discography
Selected Bibliography
Notes
Image Credits
Index

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Odetta

ISBN: 978-080703532-0
Publication Date: 5/12/2020
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $28.95
Format: Cloth
Availability: In stock.
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