Friday, February 24, 2012

One more reason to believe...

Karen Dalton, whose magnificent album '1966,' has very recently been issued on Delmore Recordings is a true original.  Her unique voice, her idiosyncratic interpretations of compositions by the likes of Tim Hardin and Fred Neil, and her own inflected and infected songs, marks her as an artist of the first degree.

So why do so few people know about her?  It's difficult and surprisingly easy to guess.  Dalton's life was one marked by personal and artistic struggle - often, with the music playing second fiddle (awful pun intended) to her personal demons - her recording career was sporadic, with only two albums released in her lifetime.  

'1966' is a marvellous record.  Essentially a rehearsal tape, it includes full-throated, open-armed renditions of songs old and new - and criminally undiscovered - by an artist at the peak of her considerable powers.