Blues Everywhere I Go

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This is Odetta's first studio release in over a decade, but time doesn't appear to have affected her interpretive skills or the range and quality of her voice, which remains one of the most remarkable instruments in American folk and blues music to date. The 15 tracks on Blues Everywhere I Go tell what Odetta calls "the other side" of the African-American blues story. Most of the tunes were written by artists like Sipie Wallace, Huddie Ledbetter, Big Bill Broonzy, Victoria Spivey and Thelma Lowe. These songwriters had a good deal to say about the daily situation of African-Americans in the South during the early part of the 20th century. The lyrics concern lost love, unemployment, homelessness, and hard times -- no knives, no guns, no chasin' women, no double-entendre lyrics in this collection. Instead, tunes like "Homeless Blues," "Unemployment Blues," "W.P.A. Blues," "Dink's Blues," and Percy Mayfield's "Send Me Someone to Love" dominate this album. Odetta's vocals are uniformly wonderful, as are her backing musicians. Although most of these songs are long-time blues standards, the arrangements are very contemporary and electrified. It may not be the style of blues project some expect, but obviously this artist still has a few surprises in her repertoire.

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