Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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A Los Angeles Childhood - The Queen of American Folk Music - Odetta Part 1
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 09:32

I can remember staying up until 3:00 AM listening to the Chambers Brothers. Lester and I were hanging out together when I went to Los Angeles City College in 1961. Millie and Sherry who called Christmas Gimme Day and saved their food stamps up for a good meal.

One night Lester said to me, "Tomorrow we'll be doing a gig with Odetta, opening for her at the Ashgrove”. This must have been later on, maybe 1962 or 63. Four of us piled into my 1959 VW convertible, Sue and I were in the front seat and Jean and Margie McPherson in the back and took off for the Ashgrove on Melrose Avenue.

"She's different," Lester had told me. She’s a Folk Singer. She marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. for the March on Washington D.C. Even Joan Baez loved her and a new guy, Bob Dylan, a poet and songwriter loved her. By then I'd had a couple of poems published, one in America Sings, which I think anyone who sent in a poem got published, and the other one in the Citadel, the literary journal of LACC where I was in workshop on Monday nights with Isabel Ziegler, a short older poet who taught poetry at that time. Her long white hair was piled up in a chignon, her Pall Mall cigarette dangling out of her mouth when we all hung out at the Gas House in Venice Beach with Eric Nord, the King of the Beatnicks.

But this first night at the Ashgrove in Los Angeles I would always remember hearing Odetta. Nothing has ever been the same. She sang Motherless Child and I knew she was singing to me. Thank you for reading Not Just A Jewish Book Blog.

Click Here: Odetta (1930-2008) No More Auction Block YouTube