on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2015 17 Aug

„A composite portrait of a ghost“

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 5 Comments

Karen Dalton arrived in Greenwich Village during the early 1960s folk revival with songs she´d learned growing up in Oklahoma and a voice that held a reedy, startling, bluesy quaver. She took banjo lessons, too. There are ghost stories in misic history: names that ring a bell for the happy few, names that once were real persons casting a shadow, chasing shadows. She was praised by Bob Dylan and cherished on the coffeehouse circuit, but she recorded only two studio albums, in 1969 and 1971, full of other people´s songs. During the 1970s she gave up performing in public; she died in 1993. Now it turns out she was writing lyrics of her own, plain-spoken and striking ones, like these from „Don’t Make It Easy“: „Things you said don´t leave my head/I may take my time forgetting you.“ Did you never hear her sing „Something On Your Mind“? That bluesy quaver, smoking signs from a life long gone, a heartache, another heartache. For „Remembering Mountains“ (Tompkins Square), 11 songwriters, all women, wrote music for Dalton´s lyrics. They came up with ballads: bluesy ones like Patty Griffin´s „All That Shines Is Not Truth“ and Lucinda Williams´s „Met an Old Friend“, folky ones like Isobel Campbell´s „Don´t Make It Easy“, and Minimalist ones like Julia Holter´s „My Love, My Love“. Working separately, the songwriters converged in lonely reflection; the album adds up to a composite portrait of a ghost. One minor quibble, Robert Wyatt (one man!:)) should have been here, too, on Memory Lane. (NYT, B.R. „Ghost Remix“ )

„Something On Your Mind“

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  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    „Remembering Mountains is maybe the closest we’ll ever get to hearing Dalton’s own articulations of heartache, although plenty was communicated on her first two records, regardless of whether the words there were her own. Still, there’s a palpable narrative here, a sense of loss and stillness, and it reanimates Dalton, if only for a moment. It’s good to have her back.“ (

  2. Norbert Ennen:

    Gleiches Konzept, mit mindestens ebenso gutem Ergebnis: …

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Karen D. mag ich nur einfach mehr als die ungleich berühmtere Shirley B. …

  4. Norbert Ennen:

    Ich verstehe. But who the f… is Shirley B. ?

  5. Uwe Meilchen:

    Shirley B. ist die Dame die zu Recht besang dass Diamanten fuer immer sind — und auch noch fuer einen anderen Film jener Reihe den Titelsong sang – Gerd Froebe, remember ?

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