Sunday, 11 April 2021

Karen Dalton: In our own dream

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Some performers come into our lives and we listen to them, seemingly forever. They become superstars and put out box sets.


Take David Crosby. Great voice; he was the horse's ass on the cover of the Byrds' "Notorious Byrds Brothers." Sang with some guys called Stills and Nash and (Sometimes Y and Young). Good group. Right outside my place singing "My House" right now.


Crosby wrote some good songs; put out an unforgettable LP I've been trying to forget for years. But it just came out as a box set. He could not even remember his name in either version.


Fathered two kids for Melissa Etheridge's wife and got a new liver, the 21st Century everybody who's anybody has to have one trend fast replacing multiple rehab.


I don't mean to pick on Crosby. I still listen to the Byrds and even saw Crosby, Stills and Nash (with

Sometimes Y and Young) once. They were pretty good but not as good as the Beach Boys. The Beach Boys literally raised off the roof on the former now newly rebuilt rebuilt County Stadium in Milwaukee.


By contrast, Stills, when he used the restroom, had more bodyguards to do it for him than County Stadium has johns.


Which brings us to Karen Dalton, sadly dead lo these many years. Kind of like Miles Davis was when you finally heard him.


I won't go on and talk about Phil Lesh, another liver transplant and the only member of the Grateful Dead to blackball Dylan's joining the group.


I once saw the Blind Pew of rock 'n' roll going into the Mill Valley Film Fest and, let me tell you, he was going into the Mill Valley Film Festival like only a member of the Grateful Dead, who hasn't had his liver transplant yet, could.


Jerry, I don't think ever had one. But he is jamming with Karen Dalton way up there in the real Rock 'N'

Roll Hall of Fame, the one without so many rehab repeaters and Cabo Wabbo guys.


Speaking of jamming. There's a photo of Bob Dylan, Fred Neil and Karen Dalton jamming at the Cafe Wha? in 1961, years before the Summer of Love and its many anniversaries - god(des) willin' and the creek don't rise full of claw toed African killer frogs who can only be kept in check by crocodiles and magic mud drying machines).


Dylan, in "Chronicles, Vol. 1" which I'm sure Usher, who didn't know his name was Bob when he gave him his Album of the Year Award in 1997, has never read, nor have all the members of Van Halen both in and out of rehab said: "My favorite singer ...was Karen Dalton. She was a tall white blues singer and guitar player, funky, lanky and sultry ... Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday's and played the guitar like Jimmy Reed and went all the way with it ..."


There's a picture of Mr. Dylan and Fred Neil and Karen Dalton on her second reissued CD, "It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You Best." On that one a true legend not a legend in Eddie Money's "mind"? has it that Fred Neil tricked the notoriously shy Karen into coming to one of his recording sessions and bringing her instruments along.


There, Nic Venet (Capitol Records, Beatles, Beach Boys, need I say more), who had been pursuing Karen Dalton for several years, turned on a tape recorder and another Karen Dalton CD is now available for less than the price of the box sets of "I Can't Even Remember My Name" and "Cabo Wabbo Gone Wild," combined.


Sticking with the first CD, produced by the bassist's bassist, Harvey Brooks, which you will likely not stop playing until you wear it out, I will only say a few more things.


In Nick Cave's liner notes, "The Understanding of Sorrow," Cave, the "grocer of despair" of Australia

says he listened to this CD, "In My Own Time" during most of the three years he traveled with it in his

suitcase at all times, all through Brazil. The other thing he listened to in that triumvirate of time was

Samba music.


I will just challenge you to read "The Understanding of Sorrow," Lenny Kaye's "In Her Own Time," or

Devendra Banhart's "A Stream Outside of Time," the other liner notes on this CD and not lose it, as in

losing it.


When I first heard and re-heard "Katy Cruel," with Karen Dalton on banjo, I was totally incapable of

getting up and walking around the room for a great deal of time.


Nick Cave says he listened to Karen's version of Dino Valenti's "Something On Your Mind" for most of his three years in Brazil.


You could try Richard Manuel's "In A Station" or Paul Butterfield's "In My Own Dream" or anything else on here.


Next thing you know you'll be trading in all your CDs on www.lala.com for $1, 75 cents shipping and something else you really want or need even if you don't know it yet.


There's a third Karen Dalton, a five song live set. I'm not even sure you can get.


But you can try. "How Sweet It Is."


P.S. "Katy Cruel" is available as a free download on www.lightintheattic.net.


E-mail Gary Peterson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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