They Come and Go
American Singer Odetta Holmes
on the bus that brought my grandchild in.
She was one of the first singers that I ever saw at the Old Town School of Folk Music.
She was stunning.
To the end.
What a great bus! It reminds me of an old song -- in my mind, it's in Paul Robeson's voice -- about that bus (well, it was a train, actually, but the point was the same):
The fare is cheap, And all can go.
The rich and poor are there.
No second class upon this train.
No difference in the fare.
I saw Odetta once at the Amazing Grace coffeehouse in Evanston in 1973. As she walked to the stage, her guitar pick fell to the ground. I picked it up and gave it back to her. She said, "Thank you, honey." I felt a thrill then, and still do.
Have you heard her album of Christmas Spirituals? It isn't Christmas without it anymore.
What a year for loss. I also remember, that only a short while ago, we lost Merium Maceba. I sit here, my eyes filling with tears remembering, as a young child - early in her exile from South Africa, I was a child at the African exhibit at the NY worlds fair (1964?). She stepped forward from the crowd, and those on stage began to weap, and pulled her up on stage and she sang... I can still hear her.Post a Comment
My dear and late friend Arthur Kenoy, who was the last living lawyer for the Rosenburgs, once said to me, late at night, early morning, in a bus depo... when I was in law school, "the civil rights movement died the day we stopped singing."
It seems the singing is growing more and more silent these days.
Thine in the light
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