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Odetta by Ian Zack

Odetta

Best Seller
Odetta by Ian Zack
Hardcover $28.95
Apr 14, 2020 | ISBN 9780807035320

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Praise

“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

“Zack . . . is convincing in his argument that Odetta Holmes has been underappreciated for too long . . . . An effective biography that demonstrates Odetta’s wide, deep legacy.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Odetta’s charisma is a touchstone in Mr. Zack’s engaging, revelatory chronicle . . . . Mr. Zack offers a much-needed corrective, restoring Odetta’s place as a performer who breathed new life into traditional American song. She regarded music and social protest as intertwined. By merging the two, she channeled her own pent-up rage at prejudice and injustice into a universal message of hard-won hope and reconciliation.”
Wall Street Journal

“Odetta’s life story takes on huge significance and scale in Zack’s book, as he explains how the winds of American history buffeted her talent like a tree flexing in the wind. Biographies can help us to conceptualize the slippery phenomenon we call being alive, especially as it relates to the passing of time. Is life made out of instants, like lightning flashing on a face in a storm, or is it some mystical force which flows across time, bigger than any one person? Odetta brims with the life of its forgotten subject, showing us that we have a lot of cultural history to re-learn, and many losses yet to mourn.”
The New Republic

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

“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

Praise for Ian Zack’s Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis

“[A] magisterial biography . . . Half saint, half sinner, all singer-songwriter . . . the Rev. Gary Davis is that blind man you brushed by on your way to the stadium to see the big act perform. Zack’s brilliant account compels us to pause for a long look at an artist who was always there, even if we didn’t see him.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Long time comin’ and here at last! This fabulous book is for those who want to read, hear, and troll the depths of Americana music for incredible artists. Once you come across Rev. Gary Davis, you are forever hooked by his creative brilliance. From his earliest recordings to his last, Zack illuminates what made ‘the Rev’ so unique. Enjoy yourself! It’s a good un’!”
—Taj Mahal

Table Of Contents

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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