Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sweet Mother K.D.

The first time I heard the voice of Karen Dalton, I thought it was some bare bones obscure Billie Holiday track that I had never heard before. I definitely wasn't expecting to find a banjo player from the Greenwich Village folk scene when I started researching her. It led to an interesting conversation with Richard over what is considered black music vs. white music, and then cross overs and collaborations, which could be a whole other post. In the years since then she has become one of my absolute favourites, right up there with Joni, so when I stumbled across the newly released 'It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best' at a local record store the other week, I snapped it up. I'll admit that up until now my listening has been limited what I could find to download, but having it played on vinyl is just too good. Her voice both gives me chills and breaks my heart at the same time, and the first time I put the record on it actually made me want to cry. Mushy, I know! She's just that good. I'm so happy to have found a video of her performing that I can share with you all, but before that here's a quote I found about her by Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders,

"She was the only folk singer I ever met with an authentic 'folk' background. She came to the folk music scene under her own steam, as opposed to being 'discovered' and introduced to it by people already involved in it."

Performing with a very young Bob Dylan, and (I think!) Fred Neil

Sadly, she struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for many years, and eventually died of AIDS in 1993. I hope you enjoy the track, it is taken from a French documentary that was filmed in NYC in 1969.


april said...

dear becka. thank you so much for sharing sweet mother karen dalton. it's the first time i hear about her, i'm so happy and touched by her music. and i thank you for your wonderful blog (i like your posts so much) and this great music. happy weekend*

handmade romance said...

beautiful. i have chills after listening to that. thanks so much for the introduction!! someone i'll be adding to our music collection.

mon ami said...

what a voice! I can definitely hear a little Billie Holiday in there too - they both have bittersweet voices that suck me in.

Thank you so much for introducing her to me.


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