See copyright notice at

Dalton, Karen

From: Nicholas Hill (
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 1995 23:28:18 -0500
Subject: Re: Karen Dalton / Dylan Who's who

Karl, what follows are my rough sketch notes of what i know about Karen
Dalton. Feel free to edit them however you need.. Please let me know how to
access the Dylan who's who archive.. If anyone ever contacts you with
regard to KD, please forward any info to me.. I am collecting recollections
of her and am responsible for the reissues that are coming out on Koch..  
                                                   Thanks, Nicholas Hill 

A photo by Fred W. McDarrah appears in the in the coffee table book "Dylan: a man called alias" by Richard Williams, featuring Karen Dalton singing with Fred Neil and Bob Dylan at the Bitter End in early '61.

Karen sang the blues and played the a twelve string Gibson guitar and a long (27 frets!) neck banjo.

Karen died about two years back now, she lived in Bearsville, NY and was fairly bad off in her later years.. Her second album , "In My Own Time" was recorded at Bearsville studios, and produced by Harvey Brooks with liner notes by Fred Neil on Michael Lang's (woodstock promoter) label, Just Sunshine. The cover photos were taken by Elliot Landy. Less common is her first album for Capitol, "It's Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best"... Produced by Nick Venet.

The successful country singer Lacy J. Dalton has said that she took her name from Karen Dalton, who had greatly influenced her singing style.

Fred Neil who had first brought her to the attention of Capitols's staff producer Nick Venet, wrote in his 1971 liner notes to "In My Own Time: "Karen has been my favorite female vocalist as well as a heavy influence on my own style of singing since the early sixties. I first picked up on her one night in the village at the "Cock & Bull" (later the Bitter End). Her voice grabbed me immediately. She did "Blues On The Ceiling" (which is my song) with so much feeling that if she told me she had written it herself I would have believed her. After the set Dino Valenti took me up to Karen's place. Later that night we jammed. Karen was like a letter from home. Her voice is so unique, to describe it would take a poet. All I can say is she sure can sing the shit out of the blues"

She is mentioned in the Penguin book of Popular Music under the Holy Modal Rounders listing, as well as liner note for Rounder records mentioning her.

Known as "Sweet Mother K.D.", It is said that the song "Katie's Been Gone" by The Band from the basement tapes was written about her. .

Lucinda Williams listed "In My Own Time" as in her top ten of the year for Tower Pulse sometime in the late eighties..

Katell Keineg is performing Karen's version of Steve Weber's version of "Same Old Man" and has also performed Karen's version of "Katie Cruel"..

Karen was not a writer but she made every song her own.. On her two albums she covered songs by Paul Butterfield, Richard Manuel, Dino Valenti, Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, Leadbelly, Jelly Roll Morton, George Jones, Richard Tucker as well as suberb personal versions of more traditional folk tunes..

What a voice she had---the Capitol press release for her first album described her as "the folksinger's answer to Billie Holiday"!

A reissue of Karen Dalton's first album is planned for release on Koch Records in mid 1996.

----Nicholas Hill - WFMU- East Orange, NJ- Sundays 6-9pm
(who gets calls *every* time he plays K.D. on the air)

Who's Who