Review Summary: A significant stature in Folk-Blues.
Karen Dalton isn't a well heard of name. Never is her distinct voice. She's one of those back lighted artists that hid behind the shades of the biggers but was always there, never having the same success as other Folk-bluesers at the time. Furthermore, she holds only two albums in her thirty year career. Her second album, In My Own Time, was released in 1971 - twenty two years before her passing - and assuredly is an alluring whisper in Folk Blues.
Dalton is seen midway turning as she steps, hands in pockets, across a dirty road in a shaggy winter setting on In My Own Times cover. Her eyes peering somewhere else off camera. Mysterious, country-down - she looks these things. But as the needle hits the first track with "Something on Your Mind", the doors blow open. "Yesterday, any way you made it was just fine/Saw you turn your days into night time", the Oklahoma girl bawls earnestly in the opening of the album. Merely soulful and slightly electrifying, Dalton's voice acts as the missing puzzle piece to the band. The bass keeps a steady, hard-knocking pulse for the drums and tangy guitar, with a pedal steel and a scorching violin making appearances. The song is astonishingly brilliant.
Next Dalton tackles Percy Sledge's, "When a Man Loves a Woman", perpetuating the brilliant and bluesy. Lazily, sweetly, seductively - she hollers with earth-shaking status. Then there's the head bopping, "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)", originally recorded by Motown legend, Marvin Gaye. It's a fun, more upbeat version than the original and tough to compare stylistically. Cover by cover, Dalton makes it her own. The Band's, "In a Station", is given a groove feel with a number of blues themes. Dalton's vocals solidify The Band's original, but the rest of the band change its light. There's no shaky keyboard that incorporated the carnival feel the original owned, instead being replaced by a solid piano for the matter of blues. Next to the piano are the organ's little chants and loud chord movements packing an extra punch.
Whichever song she decides to play with, her and her band make it livelier. She tries at Country star, George Jones, with "Take Me" and plainly manages a slower, relaxed refrain entwined with a Bluesy-Jazz feel. The band tosses in a pedal steel guitar to keep that countryness the original packed. If the song slows down the album, it's brought back up to speed with the stature of traditional songs alongside Dalton's banjo. "Katie Cruel" is a vigorously played banjo track accompanied by a shrieking violin as it backs up Dalton's vocals, while "Same Old Man" is a haunting, heavy strain of a song, but laboriously enchanting.
She ends the album with a swaying and spirit lifting aria. The acoustic guitar based, "Are You Leaving For the Country", is an abundant of folk-country, run into one. "Do you feel like something's not real?/ Let the spirit move you again/ Are you leaving for the country?", Dalton beautifully resounds. It's a fantastic closure to a terrific album.
Karen Dalton's unheard Folk-Blues classic exhibits her wonderful talent at best. Her voice is large and boastful, fitting perfectly against the band's sound and selection of covers. There's a forgotten classiness surrounding, In My Own Time. It's a classiness that sucks you in whenever it feels like. It sends you a jolt and click!- you hear it's enormous incantation. Albums like that are timeless - not forgotten.