Karen Dalton In Her Own Time

Karen Dalton was a singer from the Greenwich Village folk revival set, and one of Bob Dylan's favorites. Many compared her unique, somewhat androgynous 

— By | July 10, 2010

Karen Dalton is making a comeback. She is now included consistently in mixtapes, compilations, artist retrospectives, but so much more is still to be known about her.This is what we do know. Karen Dalton was Bob Dylan’s favorite singer from the Greenwich Village folk revival set. She was half-Cherokee, beautiful, lanky, wore her long, black hair down, obscuring her face. She lost two front teeth while in a fight with two lovers. She played a 12-string guitar and a banjo and supposedly hated recording so much she had to be tricked into it. She lived in a small cabin in the mountains of Colorado and was “living the life” of the real folk artist while other folk-poseurs took the spotlight in her stead. She had troubles with recording executives because of her heavy drug and alcohol use, hot temper, inability to compromise her sound. In some accounts she died on the streets of New York, alone, forgotten, after years of battling AIDS, and in other accounts she was well-cared for by friends, and died peacefully.

While the ongoing mystery surrounding her life may be the reason to this collective desire to resurrect her music, I think there’s something more to her music that surpasses biography. Listen, you’ll get goosebumps.

Footage of Dalton captured by a French documentary film crew in 1970.

“A Reluctant Voice, Rediscovered” NPR

Light in the Attic Records

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