In My Own Time (50th Anniversary Edition)
- All tracks from 2021 transfers and newly remastered
- CD & Cassette Editions feature 9 bonus tracks, including 6 previously unreleased live performances from The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival (May 1971) and Beat Club, Germany (April 1971)
- CD & LP editions include a booklet featuring unseen photos and liner notes by Lenny Kaye with contributions from Nick Cave and Devendra Banhart
- Tacks 11-19 Only Available on CD & Cassette Editions
- 8-Track & single LP editions only include tracks 1-10
Karen Dalton’s 1971 album, In My Own Time, stands as a true masterpiece by one of music’s most mysterious, enigmatic, and enduringly influential artists. Celebrating the album’s 50th anniversary, Light in the Attic is honored to present a newly remastered (2021) edition of the album on LP, CD, cassette, and 8-Track.
The LITA Anniversary LP edition features the original 10-track album, pressed on clear wax at Record Technology Inc. (RTI) and housed in an expanded gatefold LP jacket, while the album makes its long-overdue return on the almighty 8-Track format.
Both the CD and cassette editions feature 9 bonus tracks, including 3 alternate takes from the In My Own Time album sessions, along with 6 previously unreleased tracks captured during Karen’s 1971 European tour, including live at The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival and Germany’s Beat Club.
All audio has been newly remastered by Dave Cooley, while lacquers were cut by Phil Rodriguez at Elysian Masters.
A newly expanded booklet—featuring rarely seen photos, liner notes from musician and writer Lenny Kaye, and contributions from Nick Cave and Devendra Banhart—rounds out the package (CD booklet 32-pgs; LP booklet 20-pgs).
The Oklahoma-raised Karen Dalton (1937-1993) brought a range of influences to her work. As Lenny Kaye writes in the liner notes, one can hear “the jazz of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, the immersion of Nina Simone, the Appalachian keen of Jean Ritchie, [and] the R&B and country that had to seep in as she made her way to New York."
Armed with a long-necked banjo and a 12-stringed guitar, Dalton set herself apart from her peers with her distinctive, world-weary vocals. In the early 60s, she became a fixture in the Greenwich Village folk scene, interpreting traditional material, blues standards, and the songs of her contemporaries including Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, and Richard Tucker, whom she later married. Bob Dylan, meanwhile, was instantly taken with her artistry. “My favorite singer in the place was Karen Dalton,” he recalled in Chronicles: Volume One (Simon & Schuster, 2004). “Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday and played the guitar like Jimmy Reed.”
Those who knew Dalton understood that she was not interested in bowing to the whims of the record industry. On stage, she rarely interacted with audience members. In the studio, she was equally as uncomfortable with the recording process. Her 1969 debut, It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best, reissued by Light in the Attic in 2009, was captured on the sly when Dalton assumed that she was rehearsing songs. When Woodstock co-promoter Michael Lang approached Dalton about recording a follow-up for his new imprint, Just Sunshine, she was dubious to say the least. The album would have to be made on her own terms, in her own time. That turned out to be a six-month period at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, NY.
Producing the album was bassist Harvey Brooks, who played alongside Dalton on It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best. Brooks, who prided himself on being “simple, solid and supportive,” understood Dalton’s process but was also willing to offer gentle encouragement and challenge the artist to push her creative bounds. “I tried to present her with a flexible situation,” he told Kaye. “I left the decisions to her, to determine the tempo, feel. She was very quiet, and I brought all of it to her; if she needed more, I’d present options. Everyone was sensitive to her. She was the leader.”
Dalton, who rarely performed her own compositions, selected a range of material to interpret—from traditionals like “Katie Cruel” and “Same Old Man” to Paul Butterfield’s “In My Own Dream” and Richard Tucker’s “Are You Leaving For The Country.” She also expanded upon her typical repertoire, peppering in such R&B hits as “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “How Sweet It Is.” In a departure from her previous LP, Dalton’s new recording offered fuller, more pop-forward arrangements, featuring a slew of talented studio musicians.
While 70s audiences may not have been ready for Dalton’s music, a new generation was about to discover her work. In the decades following her death, many artists would name Karen Dalton as an influence including Lucinda Williams, Joanna Newsom, Nick Cave, Angel Olsen, Devendra Banhart, Sharon Van Etten, Courtney Barnett, and Adele. In the recently acclaimed film documentary Karen Dalton: In My Own Time, Cave muses on Dalton’s unique appeal: “There’s a sort of demand made upon the listener,” he explains. “Whether you like it or not, you have to enter her world. And it’s a despairing world.” Peter Walker, who also appears in the film, elaborates on this idea: “If she can feel a certain way in her music and play it in such a way that you feel that way, then that’s really the most magical thing [one] can do.” He adds, “She had a deep and profound and loving soul… you can hear it in her music.”
1–10: Originally released as Just Sunshine – PAS 6008, 1971
11–13: Alternate Takes from album sessions, 1970/71
14–15: Recorded live at Beat Club, Germany, April 21, 1971
16–19: Recorded live at The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival, May 1, 1971
The late Karen Dalton has been the muse for countless folk rock geniuses, from Bob Dylan to Devendra Banhart, from Lucinda Williams to Joanna Newsom.
Legendary singer Lacy J. Dalton actually adopted her hero’s surname as her own when she started her career in country music. Karen Dalton had that affect on people – her timeless, aching, blues-soaked, Native American spirit inspired both Dylan & The Band’s “Katie’s Been Gone” (on The Basement Tapes) and Nick Cave’s “When I First Came To Town” (from Henry’s Dream).
Recorded over a six-month period in 1970-71 at Bearsville, In My Own Time was Dalton’s only fully planned and realized studio album. The material was carefully selected and crafted for her by producer/musician Harvey Brooks, the Renaissance man of rock-jazz who played bass on Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited and Miles’ Bitches Brew. It features ten songs that reflected Dalton’s incredible ability to break just about anybody’s heart – from her spectral evocation of Joe Tate’s “One Night of Love,” to the dark tragedy of the traditional “Katie Cruel.” Known as a great interpreter of choice material, Dalton could master both country and soul genres with hauntingly pining covers of George Jones’ “Take Me” and Holland-Dozier-Holland’s “How Sweet It Is.”
Learn more about In My Own Time and it's 50th anniversary:
"Karen was tall, willowy, had straight black hair, was long-waisted and slender, what we all wanted to look like. And her blend of influences – the jazz of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, the immersion of Nina Simone, the Appalachian keen of Jean Ritchie, the R&B and country that had to seep in as she made her way to New York from Oklahoma – created a ‘voice for the jaded ear.’” - Lacy J. Dalton