Shuckin’ Sugar

Jun 17, 2022
Web Exclusive

By Matthew Berlyant


For an artist who only released two full-length albums in her lifetime and preferred playing music privately or for friends in intimate settings such as coffeehouses or a living room, Karen Dalton has thankfully been anthologized very well by both Light in the Attic (which reissued both of her LPs, including a recent 50th anniversary edition of her second LP In My Own Time) and Delmore Recording Society (a label helmed by Dalton fanatic Mark Linn, who put this out along with the previous collection 1966) in recent years and was even the subject of a fantastic documentary (also called In My Own Time) that came out last year.

Given all of this renewed interest in Dalton, this live set taken from two shows at Boulder, Colorado folk club The Attic (one from January 1963 and interestingly, one from February 1964 that was a benefit for The Congress for Racial Equality (CORE)) both feature Dalton accompanied only by her then husband Richard Tucker. The 12 songs here are taken from reel-to-reel recordings of both shows and seven feature just Dalton on vocals while five are duets.

The songs with just Dalton (who benefits greatly from as little adornment as possible) on vocals are, as always with her, the highlights. For proof of this, her take on “Blues Jumped the Rabbit” is just stunning and perhaps the highlight of the entire set. While the duets aren’t as intimate or as jaw-dropping and moving as Dalton singing and playing guitar on her own (for more evidence of this, her first LP It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going to Love You Best is the place to start for novices), it’s still an enjoyable collection for fans and one which features six previously unreleased songs. Among the highlights is a haunting take on “In the Pines” sung by both Dalton and Tucker and Dalton’s solo take on another folk standard (“Katie Cruel”) that she would later record for In My Own Time. (www.karen-dalton.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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