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Gonna Let It Shine

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Album Review

Recorded live at Fordham University in New York City for a public radio broadcast, this spotlights the spirituals in Odetta's repertoire, including such standards as "Down by the Riverside," "Midnight Special," and "This Little Light of Mine." Other songs are more specifically related to the Christian religion, such as "Virgin Mary Had One Son," "Poor Little Jesus," and "O Jerusalem." It's thus not one of her more typical records, but she is in strong, soulful voice in this recording. The accompaniment is sparse but sympathetic, Odetta performing on vocals only, with bluesy pianist Seth Farber supplying the sole instrumental backing. The Holmes Brothers sing backup vocals on three tracks, but otherwise Odetta's carrying the show, the set leaning more toward low-key gospel than the folk music for which she's most known. For that and other reasons, it couldn't be said to be among the better Odetta records. But it's a satisfactory one, and one of those uncommon holiday records that stays true to the best and most respectful, uplifting spiritual qualities of Christmas, though the themes are universal enough for this to be enjoyed at other times of the year as well.

Customer Reviews

My First Impression of this Artist

I was introduced to Odetta when listeing to an episode of Parie Home Companion. What a beautiful voice and overall sound.


Born: December 31, 1930 in Birmingham, AL

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the strongest voices in the folk revival and the civil rights movement, Odetta was born on New Year's Eve 1930 in Birmingham, AL. By the time she was six years old, she had moved with her younger sister and mother to Los Angeles. She showed a keen interest in music from the time she was a child, and when she was about ten years old, somewhere between church and school, her singing voice was discovered. Odetta's mother began saving money to pay for voice lessons for her, but was advised to...
Full Bio