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Karen Dalton

More serendipity – Quite by accident, on the day I got this Facebook notice below, I watched the Karen Dalton documentary that is part of the NY Doc Fest.

This is what my pal Tim Broun wrote on his page. “Today’s mission accomplished. I went with my friends Andy & Ted to find the camper in Hurley NY in which folksinger Karen Dalton died in 1993. It was disappointingly easy but we had a good time.” A pandemic worthy adventure.

As to the doc. Only mildly impressed. Far too many unidentified stock clips, including an animated film and lines like those describing the voices of Joan Baez and Joni Mitchel as “boringly clear.” Clear maybe. But my interest piqued when they focused on her archive. This film, and the pictures they took of her lyrics and writings, are all that remain. All was lost when the home of a friend entrusted to preserve this material burnt to the ground. We still have the music on record and a handful of performance films – everything else perished. A debt is owed to the filmmakers.

While I’m not a big Dalton fan, I’m a big fan of the creative outsider who can’t or won’t do what it takes to be an entertainer. And I love the odd voice, 40 miles from perfect. I’m thinking about fire and how privileged ARC is to be preserving things; about the security of our new location.  Not that far from Dalton’s trailer.

By the way ARC does have Ms. Dalton’s two studio albums It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best (Capitol, ST-271, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, [1969]), In My Own Time (Paramount, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, [1971]) and one of the two Delmore releases, 1966 (Delmore Recording Society, DE 023, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 2011). And a few CDs.

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