In My Own Time
Karen Dalton (1938-1993) was a singer's singer, beloved by Bob Dylan, Peter Stampfel and Fred Neil in her Greenwich Village heyday, and more recently worshipped by the likes of Nick Cave, Jolie Holland and Devendra Banhart. Dalton only recorded two albums, was something of a recluse, and the Dylan/ Band Basement Tapes number "Katie's Been Gone" is rumored to be about her. So much of a cult figure aura surrounds this jazzy, Native American, Oklahoma-born singer of folk-rock that you'll be forgiven if you have misgivings about her work. But she really is that good. Just take a gander at the first few seconds of her haunting take on the traditional "Katie Cruel." Her voice sounds like nothing so much as an Appalachian variant of Billie Holiday. Recorded between 1970 and '71 in upstate New York, In My Own Time, her second and final album, took six months to finish (which explains the title). Older tunes are juxtaposed with contemporary songs, including what might be the finest recording of "When a Man Loves a Woman," outside of the original. Time is a folk-rock classic that subtly and seamlessly blends jazz, country and blues elements in a hazy, dream-like way.