The overwhelmingly positive reception of the Yo Si Oigo | Devendra Banhart’s Influences compilation has been amazing and I love getting all of your e-mails. I think the best thing to come out of it are the responses saying that they hadn’t yet heard one of the artists on it and now can’t wait to hear more by them. I think it’s easy to fall into the “hear them cited as influences in record reviews but haven’t yet checked them out yet” rut and miss great artists. One such artist that is often mentioned is the incredible Karen Dalton. I saw her acclaimed “In my own time” album posted recently on the always great Chocoreve, so if you’ve been meaning to check out the crucial album head over there to download Karen Dalton’s “In my own time” in its entirety now. It is an essential addition to any music library.
“This is a pic of Bob Dylan, Karen Dalton and Fred Neil at the Cafe Wha? on February 1961. Karen Dalton’s In My Own Time (1971) was a collector’s item fetching a pretty penny by music collectors. Back in the early Greenwich folk days, Dalton was considered a peer amongst the likes of Fred Neil and Bob Dylan, but she never reached the success of her friends. Her Billie Holiday-like alto had a rural twang and an otherwordly oddness to it that didn’t translate to the general public, and as a result, she was mostly forgotten. She died homeless on the streets of New York in 1993.
Devendra Banhart cites Dalton as his all-time favorite voice, and it’s in part due to his trumpeting of her that we get a chance to hear In My Own Time. Banhart contributes to the liner notes, along with Nick Cave and Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group guitarist.) Her interpretation of the traditional songs “Katie Cruel” and “Same Old Man” (she plays banjo for both) is hauntingly beautiful. In them you can clearly hear how many of the Freak or Psych-folk artists today owe her props. Even a straight-up version of “How Sweet It Is” becomes more then that by Dalton’s incredible pacing, as she slips and slides out of the rhythm we expect to hear.”