Karen Dalton (singer)
|Birth name||Karen J. Cariker|
July 19, 1937|
Enid, Oklahoma, United States
|Died||March 19, 1993
New York, United States
|Genres||Country blues, jazz|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, banjo|
Karen J. Dalton (born Karen J. Cariker; July 19, 1937 – March 19, 1993) was an American folk blues singer and banjo player associated with the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk music scene, particularly with Fred Neil and the Holy Modal Rounders as well as Bob Dylan.
Dalton, whose heritage was Cherokee, was born Karen J. Cariker in Enid, Oklahoma. Her bluesy, world-weary voice is often compared to that of jazz singer Billie Holiday. She sang blues, folk, country, pop, Motown -- making over each song in her own style. She played the twelve string guitar and a long neck banjo.
Dalton's first album, It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best (Capitol, 1969), was re-released by Koch Records on CD in 1996. Dalton's second album, In My Own Time (1971), was recorded at Bearsville Studios and originally released by Woodstock Festival promoter Michael Lang's label, Just Sunshine Records. The album was produced and arranged by Harvey Brooks, who played bass on it. Piano player Richard Bell guested on In My Own Time. Its liner notes were written by Fred Neil and its cover photos were taken by Elliott Landy.
Both Dalton's albums were re-released in November 2006: It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best, on the French Megaphone-Music label, included a bonus DVD featuring rare performance footage of Dalton. In My Own Time was re-released on CD and LP on November 7, 2006 by Light In The Attic Records.
Known as "the folk singer's answer to Billie Holiday" and "Sweet Mother K.D.", Dalton is said to be the subject of the song Katie's Been Gone (composed by Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson) on the album The Basement Tapes by The Band and Bob Dylan, who wrote of Dalton that "My favorite singer...was Karen Dalton. Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday and played guitar like Jimmy Reed... I sang with her a couple of times." She struggled with drugs and alcohol for many years and reputedly died in 1993 on the streets of New York after an eight-year battle with AIDS. However, an article in Uncut magazine confirmed that Dalton was actually being cared for by guitarist Peter Walker in upstate New York during her last months.
She was married to guitarist Richard Tucker. She had at least two children: a son, whom she lost custody of, and a daughter, Abralyn Baird, born when Dalton was 17, whom she kidnapped and took with her to New York when she was 19. By the time she was 21, she had been married and divorced twice.
- It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best (1969)
- In My Own Time (1971)
- Cotton Eyed Joe (2007) (recorded live in 1962)
- Green Rocky Road (2008)
- 1966 (2012). Released by Delmore Recording Society; contains previously unreleased recordings.
- Laura Barton (23 March 2007). "The Best Singer You've Never Heard of". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
- Dylan, Bob (2004). Chronicles: Volume One. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-2815-4. (Page 12.)
- Jim Caligiuri (8 February 2008). "In Her Own Time: The return of Karen Dalton". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
- John Lewis (June 2008). "Karen Dalton Was The Queen Of Greenwich Village". Uncut. Retrieved 2008-05-01.
- "Play, lady, play". Financial Times. 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
- "Karen Dalton: A Reluctant Voice, Rediscovered". NPR Music. 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
- Karen Dalton (singer) at AllMusic
- Illustrated Karen Dalton discography
- Light In The Attic Records "In My Own Time" CD
- Delmore Recordings "Cotton Eyed Joe: The Loop Tapes/Live In Boulder 1962" CD & DVD and "Green Rocky Road" CD"