Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Karen Dalton

Karen Dalton (19381993) was an American folk singer and banjo player associated with the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene, particularly with Fred Neil and the Holy Modal Rounders as well as Bob Dylan.

Her bluesy, world-weary voice is often compared to that of iconic jazz singer Billie Holiday. She sang blues, folk, country, pop, Motown -- making over each song in her own inimitable style. She played the twelve string Gibson guitar and a long neck banjo. Her second album, In My Own Time (1971), was recorded at Bearsville studios, produced by Bob Dylan's former bass player Harvey Brooks, with liner notes by Fred Neil, originally released on Michael Lang's (Woodstock promoter) label, Just Sunshine. The cover photos were taken by Elliot Landy, and The Band's current piano player, Richard Bell, guested on the album. Less common is her first album for Capitol, It's Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best (1969), re-released by Koch Records in 1996. Known as "the folksinger's answer to Billie Holiday" and "Sweet Mother K.D.", it is said that the song Katie's Been Gone by The Band from the Basement Tapes was written about her. She struggled with drugs and alcohol for many years and died in 1993.

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