Beautiful Star is a 4 song EP album. These 4 tracks are from Beautiful Star, a 13 track CD to be released May 20 2009.
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“Beautiful Star” is a collection of traditional and original spirituals sung by the majestic Odetta, whom Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the Queen of American Folk Music”. Recorded in 1989, this album was originally released on Alcazar Records under the title “Christmas Spirituals”. Because Odetta had previously recorded another album entitled “Christmas Spirituals” for Vanguard Records, leading to much confusion, and because this album has universally been considered to be great “all year round”, Silver Wolf (in cooperation with producer Rachel Faro’s Ashe imprint), is reissuing this magnificent collection as a tribute to Odetta on the occasion of her passing in December 2008 and in honor of the historic election of Barack Obama, which represented a great fulfillment of Odetta’s life’s work as activist, spokesperson and muse to the civil rights movement.
"The spirit is the area that I am addressing, by way of these songs. I hope that they will touch within us something that will help people to give birth to their own individual light, and to spread that light throughout the world.” ODETTA
released April 22, 2009
On December 3, 2008 one of the world’s great voices was stilled. Odetta, who Martin Luther King, Jr. called “The Queen of American Folk Music” reigned for over thirty years with her rich voice and the honest, regal beauty of her presence. We at Ashé Records were beginning promotion of our online-only release of Odetta’s award-winning album Christmas Spirituals when we received the news. In tribute to Odetta, we wish to dedicate all proceeds from sales on this album to her favorite charity, The Jazz Foundation of America.
This album was recorded in 1988 at White Crow Audio in Burlington, Vermont. It was the first time that Odetta had done a studio recording in over fifteen years. She put her trust in a fledgling record producer, Rachel Faro, and brought in bassist Bill Lee to rerecord the tracks she had done almost twenty years previously for Vanguard Records (the album is often assumed to be a reissue of the old Vanguard recording but it is actually a completely new recording). Initially released on Alcazar Records, it went on to win the INDI Award for Best Seasonal Release and has brought joy to thousands of listeners throughout the world.
Ten years later, Rachel Faro founded a label, Ashé Records, to produce and distribute music from the African diaspora. Now, almost twenty years to the day, Ashé has rereleased the album online. In honor of this great artist Ashé will donate 100% of the proceeds from sales to Odetta’s most beloved charity, The Jazz Foundation of America, which helps elderly jazz musicians in times of crisis.
Surrounding Odetta’s remarkable voice and songs are bassists Bill Lee and Lincoln Goines, with percussionist Carole Steele. The songs are mainly traditional with two originals by Odetta and new lyrics by Rachel Faro on “O Jerusalem”. Odetta herself wrote the profound and moving liner notes (see below) and the cover is a collage created by artist Colleen Patterson, depicting the Black Madonna by the River Jordan in Egypt, with the Three Kings and three shepherds from various cultures and races in attendance. It was a great honor to work with Odetta and we still feel the power of her truth, nobility and love around us.
This album will be rereleased next year under the name “Beautiful Star” in order to differentiate it from the Vanguard album. Meanwhile, please support The Jazz Foundation of America and hit the link above in order to download this beautiful album. It is our sincere wish that these songs and Odetta’s amazing and resonant voice will transport us and transcend all the bad news, bringing peace and joy to all who hear it during this holiday season.