An Outsiders Special

Karen Dalton's life attracts mythology like iron filings around a magnet.

At times, discerning fact from fiction can seem like a hopeless task. Yet the power of Karen Dalton's music, the ethereal, beyond this world sense which runs through her output cannot be avoided.

During her tragically short lifetime, Karen Dalton recorded only two studio albums. Since then, that slim back catalogue has been expanded by a short burst of live albums and home recordings.

Expanding her discography but fuelling the mythology, the fragile, evocative nature of these recordings seem to merge with Dalton's own life.

'Katie Cruel' is a case in point. In many way's Karen Dalton's calling card, the track is featured during most of her recording sessions, gently evolving as the Greenwich Village talent coyly played with traditional material.

The tale of a beautiful woman victimised by her township as age takes its toll, the lyrics are brief yet evocative:

"Oh that I was where I would be,
Then I would be where I am not,
Here I am where I must be
Go where I would, I can not"

Delivered with an unfathomable atmosphere of longing and even dread, Karen Dalton seems over-powered by a sense of fatalism, the knowledge of her own demise. Driven forward by a rare kinetic-ism, Dalton seems absorbed in and by her music - swallowed up by her own artistry.


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