Karen Dalton, 1966 [Delmore Recording Society]
Folk singer Karen Dalton was never crazy about recording, though her ambivalence about heading into a studio did nothing to damper the beauty of her two LPs, 1969's It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best and 1971's In My Own Time.
But 1966 finds her far removed from the trappings of a proper recording console, instead featuring her simply strumming her 12-string at her cabin in Colorado while her husband Richard Tucker manned the reel-to-reel. The takes, of standards like "Cotton Eyed Joe," "God Bless the Child," and "Katie Cruel" demonstrate her unique voice, which haunts like no one else.
Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974-1984 [Chocolate Industries]
The music collected on Personal Space represents creative freedom. Just like they do now with laptops and readily accessible recording gear, the young people showcased here have no limitations.
Cheap synths, 4-tracks, and drum machines presented a parallel universe for the funk, blues, soul, and R&B musicians here. The tribal funk of "A Man" by Key & Cleary reworks a Bo Diddley boast into a poignant civil rights speech; Starship Commander Woo Woo's self-titled track explores the grey space between disco sheen and New Age gloss; "Are You Ready to Come? (With Me) Pt. 1&2" by US Aries will make you blush.