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in the hoosegow

Friday, February 11, 2005

sea lion woman

When I was a kid, I found an album of Odetta's in my sister's vinyl collection. I was making a mixed tape of some sort (yup, it was the 80s) and picked Sea Lion Woman as one of the selections. That's the first time I remember hearing Odetta's amazing deep and versatile voice. Here it is, twenty years later, and Odetta comes to Houston to give a show during Black History Month.

Well, my friends, that show was last night and far too many of you missed it. She was on stage with a piano player (the music director from Hairspray I think the announcer dude said) who could jazz up twinkle twinkle if you'd let him. Odetta made little announcements before many of the songs, explaining some of the lines, telling us who wrote the song, making sure we knew the chorus when she wanted us to sing with her.

Every single song was a blessing, an event, and I tried to physically breathe in her presence. I kept tearing up and smiling and laughing and clapping and whoo-hooing for the entire hour and a half. At the end, after we cheered her back onstage, she sang a few more songs and then began the song we'd started with, audience singing the chorus. After a few verses, she stood up and let us sing her offstage. I did my best, through my tears, to do her justice.

Big midnight special shine your light on me.
Big midnight special shine your ever loving light on me.
(repeat until Odetta leaves)


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