When Odetta began recording for M.C. Records in 1999, she was 68 years old and had not made a new studio album in more than a decade. The result was a late-career renaissance, as she turned out a blues LP (Blues Everywhere I Go), an album of Leadbelly songs (Looking for a Home, Thanks to Leadbelly), a Grammy-nominated live holiday collection (Gonna Let It Shine), and a set of spirituals (Shout Sister Shout, A Tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe). She even found time to guest on labelmate Pinetop Perkins' Ladies Man. All these records are sampled for Acadia's compilation The Best of the M.C. Records Years 1999-2005, a 17-track summary of the label affiliation. It's apparent from the opening track, "Blues Everywhere I Go," that Odetta was not going to stick to her acoustic folk style, as she fronts a traditional blues band. Elsewhere, her collaborations with guests Dr. John ("Please Send Me Someone to Love"), Perkins ("Trouble in Mind"), and Henry Butler (who plays piano on "New Orleans," aka "House of the Rising Sun") produce felicitous results, but she is just as effective on her own. Her music was always a mixture of folk, blues, and spiritual styles; at this point, as much as 50 years into her career, she was still in good voice and was leaning more toward the blues and spiritual sides of her music.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann