Yesterday the news was all over the internet that the great singer Odetta had died. I saw her first at one of the two Newport Folk Festivals that I attended - I think, in 1960. The experience itself was unforgettable. It was a cool night, very damp, with great banks of fog blowing in from the ocean, at times obscuring both stage and singers, but never the songs. One of the last songs Odetta sang was about the Irish Easter rebellion of 1916, The Foggy Dew. Slow and mornful, her heavy rich voice held us almost breathless as the mists swirled and carried the last lines: "While Britannia’s Huns with their long-range guns, Sailed into the foggy dew."
After that, I attended as many of her concerts as I could, even traveling for hours once with a friend to be able to hear her sing at a Cape Cod nightclub. And we slept in a field that night since we had no money for anything better.
[To hear an Irish version of Foggy Dew, click here.]