Recorded over a six-month period in 1970/71 at Woodstock, In My Own Time was Karen Dalton's only fully planned and realised studio album. It was released on the tiny Just Sunshine label in 1971, and consequently only ever received the most limited attention.
Dalton's first release, It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best, was recorded spontaneously one night at a Fred Neil session. Harvey Brooks - the bass player at the It's So Hard To Tell session (who also played with Bob Dylan and on Miles Davis's Bitches Brew) - produced In My Own Time and managed to persuade the reticent Dalton to share her enormous talent with the world.
The delivery of the first line of album opener Something On Your Mind makes clear the presence of a singer with a rare gift. Vocally, Billie Holiday is the closest comparison, but there's something more cracked, more grainy and more pained about Dalton's delivery as it emerges out of the Eastern-tinged intro.
The now somewhat hoary When A Man Loves A Woman is turned inside out by Dalton's fractured croon and How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) receives much the same treatment. Elsewhere, George Jones's Take Me and The Band's In A Station are both transformed well beyond their soul and country roots. It's the traditional blues number, Katie Cruel, with its haunting banjo and violin backdrop, where Dalton sounds most at home, recalling a host of lost Appalachian generations.
Dalton died in 1993, following struggles with homelessness and drugs. Remastered, with liner notes from Nick Cave, Lenny Kaye and Devendra Banhart, In My Own Time is made available on CD for the first time by Light In The Attic. It is, perhaps, the most perfect legacy she could hope to have left.