Tag Archives: July Music et al

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

Unknown  legend Karen Dalton

July 19, 1937 – March 19, 1993
All that shines is not truth
All that glitters does not shine
Rare beauty rarely shines, I find

Karen Dalton

Katie’s Been Gone  sung by Dan LaFortune written by Bob Dylan and The Band

“My favorite singer in the place was Karen Dalton,” writes Bob Dylan on p.12 of Chronicles: Volume One. “She was a tall white blues singer and guitar player, funky, lanky, and sultry. I’d actually met her before, run across her the previous summer outside Denver in a mountain pass town in a folk club. Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday’s and played the guitar like Jimmy Reed and went all the way with it. I sang with her a couple of times.”

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

Ego

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

I like to think (foolishly) that I’m familiar with all the names of important performers from the 1960s.  Of course, “important” is a relative term.

Karen Dalton meets few of the typical measures of importance. She only recorded two studio albums and one of those she didn’t realize she was recording.

At a time when singer-songwriters were emerging as the leaders, she covered others’ songs.

Her voice was not particularly unique, yet as Dylan said above, it could have a Billie Holiday quality to it.

Authentic

In a TIMELINE site article, Peter Stampfel, who played in Dalton’s backup band in the 70s and was a member of the Holy Modal Rounders, wrote in the liner notes to a Dalton reissue that she was “the only folk singer I ever met with an authentic ‘folk’ background. She came to the folk music scene under her own steam, as opposed to being ‘discovered’ and introduced to it by people already involved in it.

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

Cherokee/Irish

Karen Cariker was born in Bonham, TX and raised in Enid, Oklahoma. Her mother may have had some Cherokee blood.  Her father a descendant of the Irish. Her first marriage was to Don Dalton.

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

Greenwich Village

In the early 60s she lived in Greenwich Village amongst the many folk musicians gathering there. She played the twelve string guitar and the banjo. At times she lived in Colorado. She later married Richard Tucker.

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

Of the two albums, the first was It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going to Love You the Best released in 1969 on Capitol. Producer Nik Venet had tried unsuccessfully to record Dalton, so he invited her to a Fred Neil session and asked her to cut Neil’s “Little Bit of Rain” for his own private archives. She cut the entire album that night, most of the tracks in one take.

It was was re-released by Koch Records on CD in 1996

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

Dalton’s recorded her second album, In My Own Time (1971) at Bearsville Studios and originally released by Woodstock Festival promoter Michael Lang‘s label, Just Sunshine Records. The album was produced and arranged by Harvey Brooks, who played bass on it. Piano player Richard Bell guested. Fred Neil (“She sure can sing the shit out of the blues”) wrote the liner notes, and Elliot Landy took the cover photos.

The album’s title is no accident (not that any are). Dalton did things at her own pace and the album was recorded over two years (1970 and 1071).

At AllMusic, Thom Jurek praised the albuma more polished effort than her cozy, somewhat more raw debut… If one can only possess one of Karen Dalton’s albums, In My Own Time is the one. It creates a sound world that is simply unlike any other; it pushes the singer outside her comfort zone and therefore brings listeners to the place Dalton actually occupied as a singer. Without apology or concern for technique, she could make any song her own, creating a personal narrative that could reach outside the song itself, moving through her person and becoming the truth for the listener.

Check out her cover of Percy Sledge;s “When A Man Loves A Woman”

Or her cover of Paul Butterfield‘s In My Own Dream.

Lang arranged for Dalton and band to tour Europe as the opening act for Santana. An odd opener for sure. Her life became an unhealthy one.

The album was reissued in 2006 and  Nick Cave wrote in its liner notes: “All of us in the Bad Seeds were huge Karen Dalton fans…  She’s a blues singer to me. It’s full of idiosyncrasies that you can’t repeat – it’s in her voice and it’s just extraordinary. She is my absolute favorite blues singer – female blues singer.

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

Cotton Eyed Joe

Joe Loop was one of the proprietors of The Attic, a short-lived Boulder, Colorado folk club. During its time, The Attic had several artists on their way to fame: David Crosby, Tim Hardin, and John Phillips.

In 1962 he recorded Dalton there.  Those tapes remained unreleased until 2007  when they became part of a 2 CD compilation called Cotton Eyed Joe, which was one one of the albums cut as well.

It was the first music of Dalton’s released since her 1971 In My Own Time.

From the Austin Chronicle: Delmore Recordings’ Mark Linn, who guided Cotton Eyed Joe onto the market and played an enormous role in this story, ultimately delivered the most poignant reflection on Dalton.

There’s a small amount of people that have the original records [who] were intensely affected by them – by her voice,” he offers. “I think you can really feel the pain. She lived a hard musician’s life. It wasn’t about trendiness or stardom. It was about playing music.

“She wasn’t really made for her time.”

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

Woodstock

From the same TIMELINE article above: After years in New York, Dalton relocated to rural Colorado, where she and her third husband lived in a tiny cabin in the near-abandoned town of Summerville. There, she descended further into her addictions. Eventually, she made her way back to upstate New York, where she lived in a trailer near the town of Woodstock. According to the biographical quotes and notes at the beginning of Karen Dalton: Songs, Poems, and Writings, Dalton was struggling with drugs and was HIV positive in the 1980s. The combination made her “fragile as a wisp.” Still, she commuted to the city, “worked at low pay jobs, and struggled to stay alive.

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

Death

Given her musical anonymity, it is not surprising that a haze surrounds Dalton’s death.  The story was often that she died homeless on the streets of New York.

Not true. In a 2008 PopMatter interview, Dalton friend Joe Loop explained, “ She was actually staying in a house owned by Peter Walker — a guitar player who lives up in Woodstock …. She was staying at his house — had been for quite some time — she was there when I got a hold of her. And, she told me, matter-of-factly, when I called her that she was “staying in this cabin this guy got me to croak in.” Those were her words. We chatted and all that. Her son Lee was with her, taking care of her. And, actually, when she passed away, Peter Walker was with her in the room.”

She died of AIDS.

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

Remembering Mountains

In 2015, Tomkins Square Records released Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs by Karen Dalton.

After she died, a number of writings or perhaps poems or perhaps lyrics without music were found. These words were given to several women to interpret.

According to a Pitchfork account: “Remembering Mountains is maybe the closest we’ll ever get to hearing Dalton’s own articulations of heartache, although plenty was communicated on her first two records, regardless of whether the words there were her own. Still, there’s a palpable narrative here, a sense of loss and stillness, and it reanimates Dalton, if only for a moment. It’s good to have her back.”

Here is Patty Griffin’s All That Shines Is Not Truth. An NPR article said:  She [Griffin] recorded “All That Shines” in an Austin church, filling both the structure and the song to the brim with swooping gospel vocals, piano and organ. 

All that shines is not truth
All that glitters does not shine
Real beauty rarely glitters so I find
Real beauty rarely glitters so I find

Broken diamonds on the floor
Fractured beauty into violence
Muddy waters that’s for sure
Despite the mist

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

Peter Walker

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton

As often happens, delving into the life of one interesting person leads to another equally interesting person. Peter Walker, the person who sheltered Karen Dalton during her last days, still lives in Woodstock, NY.

In October 2018, his home–The Ark–burned down with all of its contents—including his guitars and items from his numerous world travels

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to assist Walker.

Unknown Legend Karen Dalton
Please follow and like us:
error0

July 29 Music et al

July 29 Music et al

Suze Rotolos

July 29 Music et al

July 29, 1961: after seeing him play at a folk musc day at the Riverside Church. Suze Rotolos became an enthusiastic fan. The Rotolos family lived above the Cafe Society Downtown, a little theatre in Greenwich Village. She lived with her mother, Mary, a widow, and her sister Carla, Above the Rotolos, on the fourth floor, lived Miki Isaacson, whose living room was a permanent crash pad for folk singers, including Dylan, who was pleased to be staying near Suze. The two soon became an item.

                At about the time she met Dylan, Rotolo began working full time as a political activist in the office of the Congress of Racial Equality and the anti-nuclear group SANE. It was not until they met that Dylan’s writing began to address issues such as the civil rights movement and the threat of nuclear war.

                Unfortunately the love affair was doomed. Their breakup in 1964 yielded some of his greatest early love songs – Tomorrow Is A Long Time, Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right and subsequent family squabbles with the Rotolos were documented in Ballad In Plain D, on Another Side Of Bob Dylan. (see Sept 14)

July 29 Music et al
 Help!

July 29 Music et al

July 29, 1965: The Beatles’ second film Help! had its royal première at the London Pavilion, Piccadilly Circus, London. Ten thousand fans gathered outside to see the group arrive in a black Rolls-Royce. Inside the Pavilion they met Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, who had delayed their summer holiday for the event. (see Aug 6)

July 29 Music et al
Dylan’s motorcycle accident

July 29, 1966: Dylan was involved in a motorcycle accident. The seriousness of the accident is still unknown. Dylan’s biographers have written that the crash offered him the much-needed chance to escape from the pressures that had built up around him. Dylan confirmed this interpretation of the crash when he stated in his autobiography, “I had been in a motorcycle accident and I’d been hurt, but I recovered. Truth was that I wanted to get out of the rat race.” In the wake of his accident, Dylan withdrew from the public and, apart from a few select appearances, did not tour again for almost eight years.

Dylan stayed at the house of Dr Ed Thaler in Middletown, NY for 6 weeks following the accident as insurance for even more isolation. (2016 Toronto Star article) (see February – December 1967)

July 29 Music et al

Beatles v Jesus

July 29, 1966: John Lennon’s March 4 interview with Maureen Cleave in which he says “We’re more popular than Jesus” appeared in American teen magazine, “Datebook.” Within days of publication, anti-Beatle sentiment builds up and American disc jockeys in the southern States encourages the destruction of Beatle records and memorabilia at bonfire rallies. Also enforced was a radio ban on Beatle records that was started by a Birmingham, Alabama D.J. The ban picked up momentum by other radio stations in the southern Bible belt. By August 6, thirty US radio stations have banned all Beatles records from airplay.

World reaction to John’s remarks:

  • South Africa: Piet Myer of the South African Broadcasting Corporation temporarily banned Beatles records from being played and noted that “The Beatles arrogance has passed the ultimate limit of decency. It is clowning no longer.”
  • Spain: three radio stations immediately bans the airing Beatle records.
  • Holland: one radio station banned the airing of Beatle records. (Beatles, see July 3- – Sept 2; see Lennon for expanded story )
July 29 Music et al

Light My Fire

July 29 – August 18, 1967: “Light My Fire” by the Doors #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

July 29 Music et al

The Road to Bethel

July 29, 1969: Woodstock Ventures served with papers to appear in court regarding impact of festival on local summer youth camps and local homeowners. An out-of-court settlement agreed to with camps. Judge George Cobb stated that he’d hand down his decision on August 14—the day before the festival was to begin.

The abandoned Diamond Horseshoe hotel ready for workers to move in.  (see Chronology for expanded story)

July 29 Music et al
Cherry Garcia

July 29, 1987: Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream introduced their signature flavor, and first celebrity-themed flavor, “Cherry Garcia.” (Ben & Jerry story) (GD, see August 9, 1995; CM, see December 17, 1989)

July 29 Music et al
Please follow and like us:
error0

July 25 Music et al

July 25 Music et al

Hard Day’s Night

July 25 Music et al

July 25 – October 30, 1964: A Hard Day’s Night soundtrack the Billboard #1 album. Their third of the year. All three albums will occupy a total of 30 weeks during 1964. (see Aug 1)

July 25 Music et al

Bob Dylan

July 25, 1965: Dylan played Newport Folk Festival. Many in audience booed his performance for playing an electric set with an impromptu band made up of Mike Bloomfield (guitar), Al Kooper (organ), Barry Goldberg (piano), Jerome Arnold (bass), and Sam Lay (drums). (see Aug 28)

July 25 Music et al

Wild Thing

July 25 – August 12, 1966: “Wild Thing” by the Troggs #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was  written by New York City-born songwriter Chip Taylor and originally recorded by The Wild Ones in 1965

July 25 Music et al

Road to Bethel/Neil Young

July 25, 1969:  Neil Young joined “Crosby, Stills and Nash” for the first time at a concert at the Fillmore East in New York. According to an Ultimate Classic Rock article in order for Young to join, “a significant condition to be met as set by his manager Eliot Roberts. “He’d have to be a Y,” Roberts stated in the book, Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography. Initially the group balked at the thought, but the idea of Young’s involvement was too enticing and thus, CSNY was born.”

Road to Bethel/workers

July 25 – 26 (?), 1969: screening process of police who wanted to work festival. Those approved told to report to site on August 14. (see Chronology for expanded story)

Seattle Pop Festival

July 25 – 27, 1969:  The Doors were billed as the headliner for the third day. After The Doors played, Led Zeppelin came on. When the festival was first being put together,Led  Zeppelin was still gaining momentum. According to the sources, Led Zeppelin stole the show. It was the only time The Doors and Led Zeppelin were on the same bill. (see Seattle for expanded story)

Midwest Rock Festival 

July 25 – 29, 1969: total attendance of about 45,000. The scheduled list of bands was even longer than the number that actually played – Jethro Tull, Jeff Beck and the Bob Seger System were scheduled on Sunday, but rain canceled many of that day’s performances. (see Midwest for expanded story)

Roots of Rock

July 25, 1984: blues singer Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton died in Los Angeles of a heart attack at age 57.  (NYT obituary) (RoR, see January 23, 1986; see Thorton for more)

Please follow and like us:
error0