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Its So Hard To Tell Whos Going To Love You The Best

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Karen Dalton

Its So Hard To Tell Whos Going To Love You The Best

12" LP

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

Karen Dalton was one of the ultimate free spirits. Arriving in New York from her native Oklahoma in 1960, she immediately became a part of the rising folk scene there, a hippie before they had a name, someone who lived life completely on her own terms. She was also, as this records shows, a superbly talented singer, eerily reminiscent of Billie Holliday. The only problem was that she disliked performing, and, in fact, had to be coaxed to make this album in the late '60s. Fortunately, the recording went very smoothly, with most of the vocals being first takes. Dalton (who died in the early '90s) had a natural feel for the blues. She could take songs by her contemporaries, even old folk songs, and find the blues inherent in them. It remains a mystery, really, why a record this good was lost among the releases of the time; its power might have been simple, but it was undeniable. Dalton did record again, making one other album. Now that we have the joy of It's So Hard to Tell, perhaps someone will see fit to issue that, too, and make our legacy complete. It's just a shame we've come to them so late. This is the real folk blues.


Some find Karen Dalton's voice difficult to listen to, and despite the Billie Holiday comparisons, it is rougher going than Lady Day. But Dalton's vocals aren't that hard to take, and they are expressive; like Buffy Sainte-Marie, it just does take some getting used to because of their unconventional timbre. Her debut album has a muted folk-rock feel reminiscent of Fred Neil's arrangements in the mid-'60s, unsurprising since Neil's Capitol-era producer, Nick Venet, produced this disc too, and since Dalton, a friend of Neil, covered a couple of Neil songs here ("Little Bit of Rain," "Blues on the Ceiling"). Although clocking in at a mere ten songs, it covers a lot of ground, from Tim Hardin, Jelly Roll Morton, and Leadbelly to the traditional folk song "Ribbon Bow" and the Eddie Floyd/Booker T. Jones-penned soul tune "I Love You More Than Words Can Say." The record is interesting and well done, but would have been far more significant if it had come out five years or so earlier. By 1969 such singers were expected to write much of their own material (Dalton wrote none), and to embrace rock instrumentation less tentatively.

Additional Information

Artist Karen Dalton
Track Listing 1 Little Bit of Rain - 2:30 2 Sweet Substitute - 2:40 3 Ribbon Bow - 2:55 4 I Love You More Than Words Can Say - 3:30 5 In the Evening (It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best) - 4:29 6 Blues on the Ceiling - 3:30 7 It Hurts Me Too - 3:05 8 How Did the Feeling Feel to You - 2:52 9 Right, Wrong or Ready - 2:58 10 Down on the Street (Don't You Follow Me Down) - 2:17

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