Sunday, 2 December 2012
Top 102 Albums. No 88. In My Own Time
In My Own Time. Karen Dalton
When I first came to town
They brought me drinks plenty
Now they've changed their tune
They bring me the bottles empty
(Katie Cruel, Trad.)
I thought of this album last night but decided to leave it until later in the list but I kept listening to it and so decided by default that it would be the album added today.
I discovered this album a few years ago. First I heard her name in an interview with Nick Cave and in Bob Dylan's Chronicles. Then I heard Katie Cruel and knew I had to have the album. Katie Cruel is as unearthly as Hank Williams' Ramblin' Man, which is a kind of low water mark of earthliness for me. Dalton's voice and banjo are timeless, the catch in her voice as she sings gets me every time. This is fatalism made sound.
This is all about the interpretations, as this is an album of covers. Dalton's voice is a dark folked up echo of Billie Holiday. At times it is a quiet howl, at others full of whispered intimacies. She sounds like she's uttering the songs for the first time, as if they've been wrenched from the livid flesh of experience. (Is that over the top enough for you?) Like the cliché says, she makes all these songs her own.
This could have been my number one if it hadn't insisted on being No. 88, with a Rocket.