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Cotton Eyed Joe


2015 repress of this acclaimed 2007 double album of previously unheard Karen Dalton live recordings from 1962. These recordings were an unexpected treat, following the hugely acclaimed 2006 reissues of Karen Dalton's studio albums It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best (1969) and In My Own Time (1971). Karen Dalton met Joe Loop in Boulder, Colorado, in 1962; Joe Loop made these recordings of Dalton singing and playing 12-string guitar and banjo at The Attic in Boulder in October 1962. Colorado was a hotbed of folk music; folk singers would stop off in Denver and Boulder en route to California and New York. The area's sparse population welcomed their company, at a time when young nonconformists were personae non gratae in most states. It was a cheap place to live, Boulder had a large university, and both Denver and Boulder had very active folk entrepreneurs. After missing her name in every music history book and encyclopedia for decades, it has since been noted that Karen Dalton was hugely influential on the founding father of folk rock, Fred Neil. Fred Neil only ever broke his reluctance to make public statements on one subject: his awe for and debt to Dalton. Karen Dalton's first LP was recorded in 1969 and it was hard to guess whether she was inspired by Neil or the reverse. His song, "Red Are the Flowers," for instance -- released on his 1964 debut album Tear Down the Walls (as "Red Flowers") in a duet with Vince Martin -- was more in line in terms of style and tempo with the day's hootenannys than with the LPs that Neil would eventually record in 1966 (Fred Neil) and 1967 (Sessions) under the benevolent laissez-faire production of Nik Venet. Karen Dalton's rendition of "Red Are the Flowers" showcase her playing Neil's song in the style that he would later evolve into, when unhinged, and foretells the lyricism that one Tim Buckley would self-admittedly lift from his all-time model, Neil. Another example is "It's Alright," a breath-taking cover of a Ray Charles tune. Another major singer-songwriter under Dalton's spell, Tim Hardin, made no secret of his passion for Ray Charles's music. Hardin is known to have turned from art to music because of his encounter with Dalton in New York, and he spent most of the '60s with her and Joe Loop around Boulder.