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Karen Dalton

Shuckin' Sugar (RSD Worldwide Release)

Delmore Recording Society


CD $13
  • Previously unreleased Karen Dalton performance featuring seven never-before-heard songs
  • RSD release limited to 3,500 copies pressed at Third Man on transparent, natural vinyl
  • Old style, Tip-On Jacket, and 8pp heavy insert featuring a treasure trove of newly discovered photos & a 6,000 word essay by Kris Needs


In 1962, Karen summoned Richard Tucker to join her in Colorado, extolling the healthier lifestyle and plentiful gigs at Boulder folk club The Attic. Upon his arrival, the pair solidified their personal and professional relationship, riding horses in the mountains and performing as a duo at parties and venues throughout Denver and Boulder. Stories of the spell they conjured – and rumours of tapes! – have circulated among friends and musicians who witnessed them, but until now, no recorded evidence had turned up. Shuckin’ Sugar is the glorious result of three reel-to-reel tapes that miraculously found their way to us in November, 2018, which featured two complete shows from The Attic in January 1963 and a benefit concert for The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) recorded the following February. Their gigs would often include brief solo sets from Karen and Richard in addition to the duets, and all seven solo songs of Karen’s found on the three reels are included here as well as five duets, sequenced as close to how it all went down as humanly possible. To describe the record would take a poet, but all I can say is that unveiling a missing chapter in the Karen Dalton story – with six songs we’ve never heard her sing before – is cause for celebration in Delmore’s world.

“From her opening, jaw-dropping lift-off with early blues standard “Trouble In Mind,” the unique otherworld Karen conjured springs into vivid life. Playing to audiences inevitably bound to the era’s formalities and traditions, Karen instinctively pushed the envelope, straying into uncharted territory beyond the established borders. She must have bewildered many who came to see her in those winsome Peter, Paul and Mary times." - from the liner notes by Kris Needs

Artist Bio

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.

“My favorite singer in the place was Karen Dalton. She had a voice like Billie Holiday’s and played the guitar like Jimmy Reed.” – Bob Dylan

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.”

"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 

Learn more about  In My Own Time and it's 50th anniversary: 

Preview Tracklist

  • 1 Trouble In Mind
  • 2 If You're A Viper
  • 3 When First Unto This Country
  • 4 Shiloh Town
  • 5 Shuckin' Sugar Blues
  • 6 Everytime I Think Of Freedom
  • 8 Ribbon Bow
  • 9 Blues Jumped The Rabbit
  • 10 Lonesome Valley
  • 11 When I Get Home
  • 12 In The Pines
  • 13 Katie Cruel