Odetta Blues Everywhere I Go

Odetta's first studio recording in 14 years marks a triumphant return by the legendary singer. In the title track, "Unemployment Blues" and "Can't Afford To Lose My Man" she sings with the casual authority of the greatest vocalists, projecting disdain for miserable circumstances that confirms her proud spirit. There's a profound sense of confronting life's adversities, something that the blues can hit head on like no other musical form, most vividly here in Victoria Spivey's classic "TB Blues" and Porter Grainger's flood song "Homeless Blues." Mac Rebennack joins her on the Percy Mayfield ballad, "Please Send Me Someone To Love," and while Mac is in great form, Odetta sounds uncharacteristically fragile. Odetta is in her strongest voice in small combo performances like the excellent "Dink"s Blues" with Jimmy Vivino's excellent acoustic slide and Tom Malone's funky horn riffs. Vivino and piano player Seth Farber provide vital support in a triumphant comeback by an artist who inspired Janis Joplin. (M.C.)