This recording consists of some very rare and previously unreleased home recordings of Karen Dalton from 1962-1963. I cannot believe that this has never been released and that these tapes have just been lying around for so long. This should definitely be of interest to anyone who has delved into some of the recent reissues of her work. All of the takes are amazing in their intimate, simple beauty, and this is an absolutely gorgeous record.
The album?s rustic charm lies mainly in the recording setting and technique. As we are informed at the beginning of the first song ?this was recorded to two tracks?. You hear the sounds of the room, the creaks of the chair and the ringing of the telephone, even the singing of birds outside as Ms. Dalton demonstrates her prowess on a number of instruments, mainly banjo and 12 string guitar in a relaxed home setting (something that was lacking in her studio recordings). And if that weren?t enough, her voice has an incredibly haunting beauty to it; the sort of velvety delicateness of Billy Holiday at her finest but with that inner strength and grit of the Carter Family. This is something that you must own if you are into more contemporary singer/songwriters such as Entrance or Ora Coogan or any of the aforementioned.
This is exactly the kind of thing I like to see issued (or reissued); those perfect moments caught on tape that would otherwise have become part of an entire lost generation of music that has thankfully been restored and released on more accessible formats. It is very easy to see how Dalton was hugely influential upon the likes of Bob Dylan, Fred Neil, and Davendra Banhart. This is going to be essential.
10/10 -- Kevin Richards (2 July, 2008)