Karen Dalton - 1966
1966 is an album of recently unearthed reel-to-reel recordings the elusive folk-singer rehearsing with her husband, Richard Tucker, in the Colorado cabin they shared. Originally released by Delmore Recording Society in 2012, this limited-edition deluxe reissue on green vinyl also includes an exclusive 8" x 12" colour portrait, and a four-panel heavy insert containing rare photographs and extensive liner notes.
Karen Dalton was a remote and mercurial, tough and tender, and she instinctively understood that if she wanted to survive the harshness of the world around her, she would have to keep herself hidden. So it comes as no great surprise that, despite her otherworldly voice that seemed to embody a time long past, she rarely sang in public or ventured into the unnatural setting of a recording studio. Only twice was she coaxed into formal studio settings, for 1969's It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best and then again for 1971's In My Own Time. The rest of the time she made undocumented music at home, late nights sitting around with friends, singing songs until the sun came up.
In 1966, one of those exquisite evenings was captured by Carl Baron, who lugged his tape recorder to the cabin where Karen and Richard were living; the couple were practising for an upcoming concert when Carl hit the "record" button. The result is this tape, documenting Karen at her most pure, raw and unfiltered. Featuring Dalton solo performances (accompanying herself on guitar and banjo), as well as four duets with Tucker, 1966 includes songs by Fred Neil ('Other Side To This Life') and Tim Hardin ('Reason To Believe' and 'Don't Make Promises') we've never heard Karen give voice to on record before, as well as traditional numbers she uncannily makes her own, including a devastatingly raw and powerful version of her signature song 'Katie Cruel.'
In 1966, Karen Dalton, traded in the unrelenting 24-hour-intensity of NYC for a remote cabin in Summerville, Colorado with no running water and no actual address. Like her close friends Fred Neil and Tim Hardin, Karen was unable to handle New York for long stretches and periodically sought relief. In Summerville, the pressures of finding gigs and coming up with the rent were replaced by fresh air and horses to ride. Karen was as natural atop a horse as she was with a banjo in her hands. Her long hair blowing in the wind as she guided her horse, Mamacita, across the green plains, was an image as indelible as her dark voice on tape.
Her erstwhile collaborator Tim Hardin showed up shortly thereafter, clutching a handful of newly written songs that would soon establish his formidable reputation, and moved in down the road. Most nights were filled with music. Karen, Richard and various friends traded songs around the wood-burning stove. Carl Shames, a writer and musician, witnessed many of those magical evenings, and would also accompany Karen and Richard to some of their gigs.
Carl says, "Karen’s voice knocked me over and got right into my bone marrow. Haunting and piercing – I had never heard anything quite like it. Hearing the music today evokes those great memories, and appreciation of her talent, but I think you can also hear her isolation - she didn't reach out to audiences either in selection of material or the way she sang and played. So she thought nothing of doing five songs in a row all in the same mood and rhythm. She was in her own world."
Now, we can listen to these performances, and imagine we too are gathered around that stove, basking in the beauty of those Colorado nights, witnessing something dangerously beautiful.
"1966 augments her legend not by romanticizing the tragedy of her life, but instead by showing the skill and depth of feeling that Dalton brought to even her most informal performances" - Pitchfork
"Her voice is so unique, to describe it would take a poet" - Fred Neil
Reason To Believe
Cotton Eyed Joe
Green Rocky Road
Don't Make Promises
Other Side To This Life
God Bless The Child
Little Bit Of Rain
While You're On Your Way
Mole In The Ground
- US import
- Limited LP pressed on clear 'Green Rocky Road' colour vinyl
- Newly remastered
- Pressed at Third Man
- Housed in Tip-On sleeve with obi-strip
- Includes exclusive colour portrait and four-page heavy insert with rare photos and 3500-word essay by Ben Edwards
- Contains download coupon
Traditional/folk music collection
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