“It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best” by Karen Dalton - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1969Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

World weary and filled with the blues, this debut set was a real experience for the privileged few who were hip to its’ release. Depression would eventually beat her to a pulp, but this supremely talented Earth Mama was in her artistic prime in 1969. Music was in her bones – her grandmother sang and fiddled – Karen listened to, and learned much from, her. The fiddle was, in fact, her first learned instrument. Like Lead Belly some twenty years before, Karen’s instrument of choice was the 12-string guitar – her blues-inclined picking together with THAT voice [brilliantly described in the reissue liner notes as “a weird ethnic-American mix of cowgirl, mountain lady and urban chick”], truly gave her the firmest of trademarks. The young woman had fled her rural Oklahoma home by the early 1960s; by this time, the half-Cherokee half-Irish beauty had become a mother and a divorcee twice over. She positioned herself in New York; a magnet for hicks intent on developing musical careers. There, she often took the stage at the famous Cafe Wha? on MacDougal Street. A certain Bob Dylan was one of many who fell under her spell at this time. He would later recall: “My favourite singer in the place was Karen Dalton. She had a voice like Billie Holiday’s and played the guitar like Jimmy Reed.” Much of her time was spent in the 60s raising her daughter, Abralyn, and this, together with an in-built lack of motivation and self-belief were probably the biggest factors in the fact that this LP was several years later in the making than it might otherwise have been. Thankfully, there were others around who realised that she had this album in her. She may never have written any of these songs – but, boy oh boy, she sure interpreted them. This LP proves you don’t need slick. You don’t need high production values. You just need raw, natural talents like Karen Dalton.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:30] 8.9.png Karen Dalton - Little Bit Of Rain (Fred Neil) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
A2 [02:40] 7.5.png Karen Dalton - Sweet Substitute (Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
A3 [02:55] 6.1.png Karen Dalton - Ribbon Bow (Huey Prince, Louis Singer) Folk
A4 [03:30] 7.1.png Karen Dalton - I Love You More Than Words Can Say (Eddie Floyd, Booker T. Jones) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
A5 [04:29] 9.4.png Karen Dalton - In The Evening (It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best) (Leroy Carr) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
B1 [03:30] 8.3.png Karen Dalton - Blues On The Ceiling (Fred Neil) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
B2 [03:05] 9.2.png Karen Dalton - It Hurts Me Too (Mel London) Blues / Rhythm n Blues
B3 [02:52] 6.5.png Karen Dalton - How Did The Feeling Feel To You (Tim Hardin) Songwriter
B4 [02:58] 6.0.png Karen Dalton - Right, Wrong Or Ready (Major Wiley) Songwriter
B5 [02:17] 8.7.png Karen Dalton - Down On The Street (Don’t You Follow Me Down) (Traditional, Huddie Ledbetter) Blues / Rhythm n Blues

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