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Mar 22, 2019

What The Heck Took Me So Long - Pt 2, Karen Dalton

Karen Dalton was an American Folk / Blues artist known for her clawhammer banjo playing and unique vocal style. Her vocals are often compared to Billie Holliday.  Though she says she was more influenced by Bessie Smith.  She was part of the early 1960's Greenwich Village folk scene, a contemporary of Dave Van Ronk, Tim Harden and Bob Dylan among others.  Dylan wrote of her. . . ."My favorite singer...was Karen Dalton. Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday and played guitar like Jimmy Reed... I sang with her a couple of times."

She didn't record much material.  Cotton Eyed Joe is a live acoustic performance from 1962.  Green Rocky Road was recorded in her home in 1962 and 1963.  The focus of this blog post is the exceptional studio album In My Own Time, which was produced by jazz blues renaissance man Harvey Brooks.  It's interesting to compare In My Own Time, to Cotton Eyed Joe and Green Rocky Road.  CEJ and GRR are folky solo acoustic affairs.  In My Own Time is a beautful jazzy folk blues collection.  I have to think that it owes quite a bit to producer Harvey Brooks, who played bass on Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited and Miles Davis' Bitches Brew.