The Tradition Masters

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
While Odetta is usually lumped in with other revival artists, she actually began performing in the late '40s and had recorded her first album by 1956, a couple of years before the folk boom started. Her stripped-down style and powerful vocals also differed markedly from many revival practitioners, reminding one more of Leadbelly than Joan Baez. This connection is strengthened by the inclusion of pieces like "Midnight Special" and "Take This Hammer" in her repertoire. The Tradition Masters reissues Sings Ballads and Blues 1956 and At the Gate of Horn 1957 in a two-disc set, providing an excellent overview of Odetta's early work. Both sets are fairly straightforward, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
While Odetta is usually lumped in with other revival artists, she actually began performing in the late '40s and had recorded her first album by 1956, a couple of years before the folk boom started. Her stripped-down style and powerful vocals also differed markedly from many revival practitioners, reminding one more of Leadbelly than Joan Baez. This connection is strengthened by the inclusion of pieces like "Midnight Special" and "Take This Hammer" in her repertoire. The Tradition Masters reissues Sings Ballads and Blues 1956 and At the Gate of Horn 1957 in a two-disc set, providing an excellent overview of Odetta's early work. Both sets are fairly straightforward, with her vocals supported by her persistent guitar strum on Sings Ballads and Blues and the addition of Bill Lee's bass on At the Gate of Horn. The most important element, though, is always Odetta's resonant vocals. Whether singing blues, spirituals, or straight folk, she delivers the lyrics with religious fever, as though she inhabited the words. Her approach also invigorates familiar fare like "Greensleeves" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," reminding the listener how good these songs are. It's also illustrative to compare her deep-interpretive approach to a lullaby like "Pretty Horses" with later, "sweetened" versions of the song by groups like Peter, Paul & Mary. The Tradition Masters is a good place to immerse oneself in Odetta's authoritative versions of classic folk material. Old fans, unfamiliar with her early music, will likewise want to pick up a copy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/3/2002
  • Label: Tradition Records
  • UPC: 600491108522
  • Catalog Number: 1085
  • Sales rank: 138,459

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Odetta Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Bill Lee Acoustic Bass
Technical Credits
Odetta Arranger
Miles Davis Composer
Victor Feldman Composer
Jim Bessman Liner Notes
Brownie McGhee Composer
Huddie Ledbetter Composer
Marco Marinangeli Remastering
Sonny Terry Composer
Dick Waterman Cover Photo
Traditional Composer
Harry Burleigh Composer
Arthur Reynolds Composer
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