― timmy tannin (pompous), Sunday, 19 November 2006 04:31 (thirteen years ago) link
And sadly, that's pretty much the entirety of her output. So get 'em both.
― Dee Xtrovert (dee dee), Sunday, 19 November 2006 04:44 (thirteen years ago) link
― lsd sky chefs (Jody Beth Rosen), Sunday, 19 November 2006 04:44 (thirteen years ago) link
― calvin johnson has ruined rock for an entire generation (orion), Sunday, 19 November 2006 04:49 (thirteen years ago) link
― GOD PUNCH TO HAWKWIND (yournullfame), Sunday, 19 November 2006 06:49 (thirteen years ago) link
I'll admit I have zero grasp on what it is about forced folk timbres today that just generally irritate the fuck out of me... if anything doesn't irritate me that's tangentially referenced with folk, it's because there's no sign on these artists stating "I am FOLK".
Maybe someone can word it better than I can? I'm near the fucking drunk line here, as I can still somewhat type, but can't explain and analyze worth shit right now.
― gwynywdd dwnyt fyrwr byychydd gww (donut), Sunday, 19 November 2006 10:04 (thirteen years ago) link
but dalton has that same forced quality to my ears.
― GOD PUNCH TO HAWKWIND (yournullfame), Sunday, 19 November 2006 10:20 (thirteen years ago) link
― electric sound of jim [and why not] (electricsound), Sunday, 19 November 2006 10:32 (thirteen years ago) link
― Jeff K (jeff k), Sunday, 19 November 2006 11:36 (thirteen years ago) link
re: Dalton being a star - She wanted to be a star less than just about anything. Never tried at all, despite having *plenty* of offers for about a 15 year period. The Capitol album caught her at a weird moment; apparently the story of her being "tricked" into the recording have more validity than one might think, but once done and offered a contract, she begrudgingly agreed only to the one (already recorded) album, since there was cash involved and no need to do anything further. She claimed for the rest of her life (from what I've heard) to have never owned nor even heard the album! The second album I know less about, but it wasn't a big money, major label type thing obviously.
Supposedly, *hundreds of hours* of brilliant home recordings were destroyed, and the roughly 20+ hours that still exist are in the hands of friends abiding by her wish for non-exposure. I'd give anything to hear them - they're meant to be pretty well-recorded, with a giant variety of songs, plus stories and aural ephemera of all sorts.
Sadly, the Fred Neil comparison is apt here too, as there are still several hundred Neil songs locked away, much of it substantially better than anything he ever did (including his classic "Fred Neil" album with original versions of "The Dolphins" and "Everybody's Talkin'.") I've heard some of this stuff, and it'd blow up anyone's brain were it released.
― Dee Xtrovert (dee dee), Sunday, 19 November 2006 12:27 (thirteen years ago) link
― m coleman (lovebug starski), Sunday, 19 November 2006 12:52 (thirteen years ago) link
I would love to hear more Karen or Neil!!
― Ice Cream Electric (Ice Cream Electric), Sunday, 19 November 2006 16:52 (thirteen years ago) link
― scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 19 November 2006 16:58 (thirteen years ago) link
― Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Sunday, 19 November 2006 17:03 (thirteen years ago) link
― scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 19 November 2006 17:05 (thirteen years ago) link
in fantasyland, where they only let like one dude in a year so he can talk about it on the internet. see also: rerecorded PiL tracks from the first album.
more fred neil would be good, though.
― GOD PUNCH TO HAWKWIND (yournullfame), Sunday, 19 November 2006 17:12 (thirteen years ago) link
― scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 19 November 2006 17:35 (thirteen years ago) link
re: Fantasyland - I heard them on the internet . . . Howard Solomon had seven tracks posted online for listening about a year after Fred died. At least three of the songs were covers, but the best thing was an INCREDIBLE version of the already-great "December's Dream," recorded several years after the version on that double CD anthology of the Capitol years. (Howard was Neil's long-time manager.) I wouldn't have had any idea about how to capture these tunes at the time (they were of the "click here to listen" variety,with no overt way to download), but I'm sure someone has done.
re: PiL - I was told myself by a band member that the project resulted in only three or four songs which weren't even completed, one of them being a released version of "Fodderstompf" on some 12" I can't recall, but retitled. The rerecording project was abandoned, and odds are that the "Fodderstompf" version was the only thing even partially recorded (I don't think they even did vocals on it.) A different band member, Martyn Atkins, was often happy to play some great totally unreleased PiL tracks from the "Metal Box" / "Flowers Of Romance" era to anyone who expressed a sincere interest when visiting his Chicago studio.
Just to rub it in the face of snots who can't believe, I'm also one of only about three people on earth (including the band) who have a copy (a DAT from original tapes) of the Television demo sessions for "Adventure," which are clearly superior to the actual album version. I won't post them since I know they'd get bootlegged, but I'd e-mail some bit of a couple of songs to a nice guy like Dan Selzer just to prove I'm not full of shit!
― Dee Xtrovert (dee dee), Monday, 20 November 2006 01:38 (thirteen years ago) link
Maybe someone can word it better than I can?
-- gwynywdd dwnyt fyrwr byychydd gww
This is a thread in itself really, I understand completely where you're coming from.
I'd actually extend it to the rather too many indie (definitely it's worst in indie) acts at the moment who accentuate their "weirdness" in the vocals to such an disbelievable degree it makes me find them shite, or good-but-unlistenable (this needs wording better too). The "trying too hard" problem.
― brr (fandango), Monday, 20 November 2006 01:51 (thirteen years ago) link
Not to go off subject, but whatever happened to Harvey Brooks? He produced both of Dalton's records. He was quite an in-demand bass player during the sixties, playing on everything from Highway 61 to Bitches Brew.
― Jeff K (jeff k), Monday, 20 November 2006 02:00 (thirteen years ago) link
― GOD PUNCH TO HAWKWIND (yournullfame), Monday, 20 November 2006 05:22 (thirteen years ago) link
That PiL stuff I mentioned will probably come out eventually. Apparently, band members with loads of viable material from PiL's creative peak were upset at not being asked for inclusions on the "Plastic Box" set. Time moves slowly in PiL-land - it always did - but there's certainly a desire by most of the major members to have this material heard.
The Fred Neil stuff was up for all to hear online. Not for long, mind you, but I'm told there is some movement at Sony towards releasing all of his early 70s album (recorded twice under drastically different conditions and not unreleased because of label stupidity), so this stuff will come out, I'd imagine.
Of course, I am not a dilettante in the world of postpunk (or folk), I've worked in the music business for ages and know loads of people. If you want to hear something, eventually it will come across your path.
― Dee Xtrovert (dee dee), Monday, 20 November 2006 06:30 (thirteen years ago) link
I agree about most current "free folk" vocals. I guess it's the difference between having a real "Okie" accent ie Karen vs. some wannabe imitating it.
― Ice Cream Electric (Ice Cream Electric), Monday, 20 November 2006 23:10 (thirteen years ago) link
― Tyler W (tylerw), Monday, 20 November 2006 23:18 (thirteen years ago) link
I'm no fan of at least one much-loved current freak-folk release, but I think one walks a primrose path here.
― marc h. (marc h.), Tuesday, 21 November 2006 01:15 (thirteen years ago) link
― marc h. (marc h.), Tuesday, 21 November 2006 01:16 (thirteen years ago) link
― Ice Cream Electric (Ice Cream Electric), Wednesday, 22 November 2006 01:42 (thirteen years ago) link
I think Jagger realized that there was a bit of inherent comedic value to this, though, which is part of the fun of the Stones, right?
I may be wrong here but it does not seem to me like Joanna Newsom, for instance, takes any of her songs anything less than Very Seriously. Maybe that's part of the difference?
― cws (cws), Wednesday, 22 November 2006 02:06 (thirteen years ago) link
So right, this loop thing....
Anyone heard it? I am considering getting it off amazon as I plan a splurge sometime in the next couple of weeks.
― I know, right?, Sunday, 7 October 2007 21:24 (twelve years ago) link
Well I have. Its called Cotton Eyed Joe and its a couple of live recordings made by someone called Joe Loop in his coffee shop where Dalton played in Boulder, Colorado in 1962.
And Holy Shit.
This is really beautiful stuff. I really mean, if you haven't heard this you should. I've never heard an album that sounds so stark. Her voice is more clearly recorded than on any of the albums she recorded later. On Oh Hannah she sings A Cappella. Its actually devastating. Her voice has none of the croak that it developed later, just a clear bellow, slow. Her guitar playing is magnificent, she really does build her own language out of corny Greenwich Village/Folkways colloquialisms.
Really it just sounds like she's sitting next to you. And It's scary. Katie Cruel gets caught up in its own forward thrust I was glad it was a recording. I don't think I could take being in the same room as all that intensity.
Essentially its the only live album I've heard where the sound of applause feels like gunshots.
― I know, right?, Saturday, 13 October 2007 19:34 (twelve years ago) link
i'm listening to something by her now and really loving it!
― surm, Friday, 26 June 2009 14:58 (eleven years ago) link
yeah, that Cotton Eyed Joe live CD... wow, her "I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground" is great. This is all great tbh.
― ian, Monday, 12 October 2009 01:47 (ten years ago) link
http://www.delmorerecordings.com/Dalton_ONIONAVCLUB.jpgHere's an interview I did with Joe Loop (the guy who taped the Cotton Eyed Joe disc]. <3 Karen Dalton.
― tylerw, Monday, 12 October 2009 02:47 (ten years ago) link
He had some other great stories about Fred Neil, David Crosby, Pete Seeger and a bunch of others all playing at his place.
― tylerw, Monday, 12 October 2009 02:48 (ten years ago) link
There's another new release just out called 1966. Has anyone heard it yet?
― Frozen_Warnings, Saturday, 21 January 2012 01:06 (eight years ago) link
just learned about it, guess it's more tapes from the dude i interviewed above? [ah memories of my life as a freelance writer. the money, the women, the drugs].
cotton eyed joe and the loop recordings things are pretty great, if you like Dalton. not as great as her two "real" albums but still nice documents.
― tylerw, Saturday, 21 January 2012 03:04 (eight years ago) link
haw, the cover's pretty hardcorehttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61rSp43QBIL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
― tylerw, Saturday, 21 January 2012 03:08 (eight years ago) link
Yeah, great cover indeed.
"Back to the garden" done Dalton-style.
― Frozen_Warnings, Saturday, 21 January 2012 03:27 (eight years ago) link
I really enjoyed that Cotton Eyed Joe release. It sounded a whole lot better than I expected it to. I'll probably end up getting 1966 too.
― Frozen_Warnings, Saturday, 21 January 2012 03:29 (eight years ago) link
so good, btw.
― Mordy, Monday, 27 February 2012 22:47 (eight years ago) link
she's kinda the stealth most influential female singer ever even if lots of ppl don't even know they are influenced by her
― the wild eyed boy from soundcloud (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 27 February 2012 22:50 (eight years ago) link
heh, yeah agreed
― Chris S, Monday, 27 February 2012 22:56 (eight years ago) link
is it terribly superficial of me to say that i love how understated and lo-fi the recording is?
― Mordy, Monday, 27 February 2012 22:59 (eight years ago) link
nah, it suits her -- sounds like it could've been plucked off of a 1930s 78.
― tylerw, Monday, 27 February 2012 23:01 (eight years ago) link
or a lomax tape
― Mordy, Monday, 27 February 2012 23:03 (eight years ago) link
just listened to 1966 on spotify, totally great, I agree. Maybe the best of these archival things, which is surprising. You'd think they'd be scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point.
― tylerw, Monday, 27 February 2012 23:42 (eight years ago) link
it does kinda seem at this point like every year has one of these reissues - carol kleyn notably last year but I bet if I went thru my music I could locate like one a year going back a decade
― Mordy, Monday, 27 February 2012 23:45 (eight years ago) link
Don't know if any of you have seen this article. I've been listening to "Cotton Eyed Joe" again and Googling around for info on the 1966 release.
Get past the first few paragraphs and there is some interesting biographical information in this. Worth reading:
Financial Times, January 27, 2012Play, lady, play
By Richard ClaytonKaren Dalton was Bob Dylan’s favourite singer and a folk-scene legend but died virtually unknown
If you like Bob Dylan a lot, you ought to love Karen Dalton a little. A legend of the 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene, the singer is lionised by other performers and a tragic heroine for her fans. Today, nearly 20 years after her death, more of Dalton’s music is available than ever, and the people who knew her best have started to talk.
Tales about Dalton are as tall as she was. She had an aura that turned men’s heads and an attitude to spur girl-crushes in women who paint her as a “pagan mother goddess rooted in this planet”, as one purple liner-note has it. The stories mention her Native American blood, her hard drugs and her suspicion of recording studios, that she kidnapped her own child and died of Aids at 55 in 1993, a derelict on the streets of New York. The truth is more nuanced, but no less involving, than the fiction
Only two Dalton albums were released while she was alive. Her first LP did sneak out again in 1997, but it was the publication of Dylan’s 2004 memoir, Chronicles, that sparked her revival. He wrote that Dalton was his favourite singer in that Greenwich Village scene: “[She] had a voice like Billie Holiday’s and played the guitar like Jimmy Reed and went all the way with it.” The going all the way is crucial. From the off, Dalton had an unforgettable blues voice, with a cracked, mournful, horn-like quality, weary beyond its years. What she wasn’t was a songwriter. Singer-songwriters were soon all the rage.
In 2006 Dalton’s low-key debut, It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going to Love You the Best (1969), and its more extensively produced successor, In My Own Time (1971), were both – in record-industry parlance – “lavishly reissued”. Glowing reviews followed. The Dalton trail, cold for so long, was giving off heat.
1966 is the third and latest collection of previously unreleased – indeed, previously unknown – reel-to-reel recordings to have emerged since. The others are Cotton Eyed Joe (2007), a 1962 live set of 21 tracks, and Green Rocky Road (2008), nine home recordings from 1963. Each sounds thrillingly raw, low-fi and antique, but 1966 is the pick. As her then husband – duettist and guitar player Richard Tucker – observes, Dalton is “relaxed and in her element”. The location is an old gold-rush cabin in the hills near Boulder, Colorado; their retreat from beatnik living “back east”. Dalton plays banjo and sings the folk standards that were the core of her repertoire along with songs by their Greenwich Village peers Fred Neil and Tim Hardin. Hers must be the first cover of Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” (a song later popularised by Rod Stewart) because Hardin’s own debut album wasn’t even pressed at that point.
On the phone from the Pacific north-west, Tucker, now 71, still seems slightly in awe: “I was totally amazed by her right away. I remember carrying her guitar for her down the street. I was like a groupie ... The first place I saw her perform was a tiny spot on Bleecker Street called the Flamenco Café ... Peter Tork [the future Monkee] was washing dishes.”
For five years Dalton and Tucker would go back and forth between New York and Colorado, where the Attic folk club in Boulder became a pit-stop for musicians travelling coast-to-coast. Dalton was a draw for the likes of Hardin, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and a pre-Byrds David Crosby. She played few formal gigs. “We did do a really good concert at the university in Indiana,” says Tucker. “Somewhere in the world is a tape.” Recording together was almost unheard of, not something that occurred to young folkies existing day-to-day.
Theirs was a “very tumultuous relationship”, Tucker recalls. “Karen was strong-willed but she wasn’t self-confident. There was a fragility there.” They split up soon after the 1966 session was captured by their friend Carl Baron. “I remember having an argument in the middle of Denver and me getting out of the car and walking away and never seeing her again,” Tucker says.
Dalton’s daughter, Abralyn Baird, now 55, was born when Dalton was 17; her elder brother, Johnny Lee Murray, when Dalton was 15. Two fathers, two divorces. “My mom was kinda headstrong. She wanted to get on with stuff,” says Baird. “In most states then you could get permission to marry before you were 16; it wasn’t a total scandal or anything.”
By her own admission, Baird has the same “deep, hoarse” speaking voice as her mother. Asked to name the most erroneous of the Dalton myths, she answers disarmingly: “The Cherokee princess one makes us all laugh.” Her mother’s parents, John and Evelyn Cariker, came from “mostly Irish” stock, she says. One grandmother was distantly related to Will Rogers, the Cherokee cowboy-actor, but the link was “pretty dilute”. A nice story then? “Isn’t it though?” Baird replies.
Dalton’s Oklahoma background was a badge of authenticity in Greenwich Village. Tucker remembers her family as “classic Okies”, rural flotsam of the Depression, and her father as “incredibly alcoholic”.
Baird bristles: “Her dad was a respected welder; her mother was a nurse. Not terribly Grapes of Wrath.”
So what of Abralyn’s kidnapping? “Yeah, she took off with me. But, remember, she was a 19-year-old girl.” Having already lost custody of her son, Dalton reconciled with Baird’s father, a literature professor, who had been granted custody of their daughter – then fled with her to New York. “They had the same temperament, my mom and dad,” says Baird. “They were very forthright, quick to anger. Very stubborn.”
Little is known publicly about Dalton after the early 1970s other than that she was living in New York. Drink and drugs surely tightened their grip but friends such as the folk guitarist Peter Walker have rebutted suggestions she died homeless and destitute. Baird maintains her mother had throat cancer and was in a hospice near Woodstock at the end. As for Aids, Baird says: “Well, she could have had that too, but it was never said to me specifically that she did.”
Dalton’s career stalled through corporate indifference and her own intransigence. “She wasn’t seen as very commercial,” Tucker explains. “The people in charge [of record labels] didn’t get it.” Baird believes it wasn’t so much that her mother didn’t want to record albums as that she resented the loss of control the process implied.
And as Harvey Brooks, the producer of Dalton’s one fully realised studio outing, In My Own Time, told me in 2006: “She didn’t like pressure. She was a very intimate performer – we didn’t have the word ‘stress’ then.”
Dalton is increasingly recognised, however, as an astonishing vocal interpreter. “She was taking something else and making it her own,” says Baird. Dalton’s technique owes more to jazz than folk. According to Brooks, “She crosses the bars… She’ll bend a note and you don’t know if she’s gonna make it or not, but she does.”
If Dalton has a signature song it’s the ballad “Katie Cruel”, which opens: “When I first came to town they called me the roving jewel, now they’ve changed their tune, call me Katie Cruel.” You don’t need to spend ages wondering why it appealed to her. “Oh, because it sounds like she’s talking about herself,” Tucker says. “Or more like an image of herself.”
Dalton’s original Capitol Records biography from 1969 asks rhetorically where she has been: “She’s been around,” it concludes. At last, her music is getting around, too.
― Duke, Saturday, 3 March 2012 21:25 (eight years ago) link
i need to get that 1966 thing.
― flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Sunday, 4 March 2012 02:48 (eight years ago) link
"Katie Cruel" is so great
"through the woods i'll go through the foggy mire / straight down the road until i come to my heart's desire"
― Mordy, Tuesday, 6 March 2012 02:37 (eight years ago) link
i have to dig out in my own time and see if it sounded as good there. i don't remember it...
― Mordy, Tuesday, 6 March 2012 02:38 (eight years ago) link
it's p all time on that rec
― bear, bear, bear, Tuesday, 6 March 2012 02:49 (eight years ago) link
anyway, this album is great. maybe my favorite thing of the year so far and i didn't even realize it was coming out
― Mordy, Tuesday, 6 March 2012 02:53 (eight years ago) link
I've wondered if Karen Dalton was the big influence on Devendra Barnhart's singing style rather than Marc Bolan as I think is often cited.
― Stevolende, Tuesday, 6 March 2012 07:26 (eight years ago) link
I think she anticipates so much of Neil Young's career, particularly on this album on "Reason to Believe" which is sooooo great.
― Mordy, Thursday, 8 March 2012 16:14 (eight years ago) link
xp Barnhart writes a long, flowery essay in the reish of in my own time where he names her as his fave singer.
― tylerw, Thursday, 8 March 2012 16:22 (eight years ago) link
She looked gorgeous. Her voice. Ditto.
Sorry to pick the obvious one.
I've been on a bender
― Jessie Fer Ark (Mobbed Up Ping Pong Psychos), Thursday, 8 March 2012 22:23 (eight years ago) link
was watching random episodes of What's In My Bag on the Amoeba site and was amazed by Cheech Marin's memories of being Dalton's housematehttp://www.amoeba.com/whats-in-my-bag/index.html#/search/Cheech%20Marin/page1
― zappi, Thursday, 8 March 2012 22:35 (eight years ago) link
I relistened to In My Own Time and It's So Hard today and I think 1966 might be my fave.
― Mordy, Friday, 9 March 2012 01:26 (eight years ago) link
"when i first came to town / they bought me drinks aplenty"
― Mordy, Friday, 9 March 2012 02:56 (eight years ago) link
― zappi, Thursday, March 8, 2012 4:35 PM (2 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
― flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Sunday, 11 March 2012 03:12 (eight years ago) link
they like flowers and music and white girls named Karen too.
― buzza, Sunday, 11 March 2012 03:18 (eight years ago) link
every time i relisten to this i find new reasons to love ithow mournful + haunted she sounds on "reason to believe"richard tucker duet with her on "don't make promises""standing on that corneeeeeeeeeer."
― Mordy, Saturday, 28 April 2012 02:10 (eight years ago) link
I love this video so so much.
― Where Is The Univers (Old Lunch), Thursday, 8 August 2019 18:55 (one year ago) link
full disclosure: for some reason I never bothered to listen to her until I came across Dylan's description of her in Chronicles. Really love that first record a lot.
― Οὖτις, Thursday, 8 August 2019 19:25 (one year ago) link
― clemenza, Monday, 29 June 2020 16:40 (three months ago) link
I just realized yesterday that the folk singer Karen Dalton who gets heaps of praise here on ilx and elsewhere is not the blues singer Kathy Dalton who made a record with Little Feat on Zappa's label. (I've never heard either.)
― Orson Well Yeah (Dan Peterson), Monday, 10 August 2020 20:50 (one month ago) link
Dammit, meant to post to the 'I always get those two mixed up' thread.
― Orson Well Yeah (Dan Peterson), Monday, 10 August 2020 20:52 (one month ago) link