Was There Ever a Star With Just One Name Before Odetta? --

It’s surprising to me that this seems to be the first book of any consequence about Odetta, more than a decade after she passed on. I hope the book is worthy, this excerpt gives a promising preview. She was the first brilliant, legendary singer I can recall who was so unique that she didn’t need a last name. In many decades of listening to her sing, I can’t remember even once wondering whether she might have one. One of the most important things she ever did was to inspire a very young Bob Dylan to sing folk songs. Sadly I never saw her perform in person. I should make a more serious effort to collect recordings of her great performances.

I think I must have heard her on a record for the first time when I was at Oberlin. I think there might have been one at Keep Cottage, the co-op dining hall where I was lucky to be able to eat during my senior year at Oberlin. There were only two co-ops at Oberlin, it was the better of the two and I was lucky to draw a winning ticket to be able to have a seat at the table there my last year in college. My friend, Stephanie Gutieri, lived there with three other memorable Oberlin women. Steph is the one who first turned me on to Bob Dylan. My story about this was first published on the Internet nearly twenty-five years ago. It preserved my memory of one of the most important events in my life.