Artist picture of Karen Dalton

Karen Dalton

6 234 fans

Artist's top tracks

Something on Your Mind Karen Dalton 03:25
When a Man Loves a Woman Karen Dalton 02:59
Take Me Karen Dalton 04:40
In My Own Dream Karen Dalton 04:18
In a Station Karen Dalton 03:52
Same Old Man Karen Dalton 02:44
One Night of Love Karen Dalton 03:19
Katie Cruel Karen Dalton 02:22
One Night of Love - Live at Beat Club, Germany, April 21, 1971 Karen Dalton 03:20
One Night of Love - Live at the Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival, May 1, 1971 Karen Dalton 03:14

Latest release

Shuckin' Sugar

by Karen Dalton

06/05/2022

102 fans

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Biography

A cult figure in folk music, Karen Dalton only released two albums during her career, but she rubbed elbows with great artists and was appreciated both by her contemporaries and the audiences that rediscovered her music after her death. Born Jean Karen Cariker on July 19, 1937, in North Texas, she spent time in Oklahoma and Kansas before making the move to New York City in the early ‘60s, where she became involved in the Greenwich Village folk music scene.


Dalton became acquainted with the Village’s array of performers, including Bob Dylan, who sometimes played harmonica with her. She refused to play her own music for others, and instead performed renditions of songs by storied artists like Jelly Roll Morton and Lead Belly, and contemporaries including Richard Manuel of the Band and Paul Butterfield. In line with her hardscrabble existence -- she often lived in poverty, was twice divorced by age 21, and struggled with alcohol and heroin addiction -- her voice displayed a weariness beyond her years.


In 1969, Dalton was coaxed into recording her debut album, It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best, which featured her playing both of her instruments on the album’s cover: a 12-string guitar and a long neck banjo. Two years later, she released In My Own Time, which featured a cleaner sound and a robust lineup of backing musicians. She recorded the album at Bearsville Studios, the facility operated by Albert Grossman, who managed Dylan and the Band. Legends persist that “Katie’s Been Gone” from Dylan and the Band’s Basement Tapes is about Dalton.


Dalton essentially disappeared from music after the release of her second album, and grew increasingly despondent due to substance abuse issues. She died on March 19, 1993, from AIDS complications, in a mobile home not far from where she recorded her final album. A posthumous live album called Cotton Eyed Joe, recorded in Boulder, Colorado in 1962, arrived in 2007. Despite her short career and small output, Dalton is still beloved by a passionate fan base, including iconoclastic performers Joanna Newsom and Nick Cave.