Last night I'm on one of those knitting tears when I start thinking it'd be nice to watch some music videos or old TV clips or something while working (you might see where this is going). Hmm. I wonder. Where can I find stuff like this? Hmm. La la la.... Hmm. I dunno... wait... maybe -- YouTube?
I'd been listening to Susan Tedeschi sing "Angel from Montgomery," so I looked up the songwriter, John Prine, and YouTubed him. From there, Bonnie Raitt's version came up (quite lovely), and then Linda Ronstadt was connected, so I watched some of her early performances, then some with the other Trio ladies. Somehow I went from there to watching Creedence Clearwater Revival perform "Midnight Special" (I do enjoy me some CCR), which set me to thinking about how cool it would be to see clips from the "Midnight Special" TV show. Before I could get entangled in that search, I noticed that there's a version of "Midnight Special" by Odetta. I thought, She's South African, I wonder what that will sound like. (Ellen, you maybe shouldn't be reading this.)
Where, oh where, did I get that Odetta is South African? My entire life I've been sure of this. Even the fact that Mr. Stevens met Odetta and processed her papers for the Schomburg and told me all about it had no effect on my misguided thinking. Her Los Angeles upbringing and Alabama birth were news.
When I played the video, I wondered where her Zulu accent went. I felt oddly connected to her, in that way that one does when one shares a cultural background and a country with someone, and finally this morning I decided to get on some Wikipedia and find out what was going on. It was the way she ends "Midnight Special," with a song I've sung a thousand-plus times in church, that had shaken the foundation of my South African theory.
Anyhow. Here's Odetta, singing "Midnight Special." It's just under 4 minutes long, and worth every second and then some. Oh, and if the singing doesn't get you, this is also a craft blog, so maybe the feather and fan sweater will.
Alright. I'm going back to YouTube to watch this Congolese singer named Nina Simone.