Musical archaeologist and record label Delmore Recording Society is honored to announce a brand new collection, Shuckin’ Sugar, from legendary blues and folk singer Karen Dalton. Available April 23 on vinyl as Exclusivity Discotheque Day, followed by a wide CD and digital release on May 6, Shuckin’ Sugar is a gripping 12-track live set recorded in 1963-64, featuring Dalton’s earliest known duets (with then-husband , guitarist and songwriter Richard Tucker) and seven previously unreleased solo performances. The collection comes with an 8-page (LP)/24-page (CD) booklet containing a treasure trove of newly discovered and rare photos, as well as newspaper clippings, Dalton illustrations and a 6,000-word heartfelt essay by veteran British journalist and author Kris Needs.
Limited to 3,500 copies worldwide, the RSD release was pressed at Third Man Records on clear, natural vinyl that is housed in an old-school jacket. Click here to find the nearest participating record store. The CD and digital editions will be available for pre-order on April 25 on Delmore recordings on band camp and at most digital retailers.
Since falling completely under the spell of Karen Dalton in the 1990s, Delmore has made it his mission to unearth unreleased Dalton recordings, including acting as a North American liaison for Cotton Eyed Joe and Green Rocky. Road, and in 2012, releasing the Intimate Cabin Recordings. Karen Dalton – 1966. Now, Delmore is incredibly proud to present a never-before-seen performance from Dalton, offering an unprecedented glimpse into a cult legend in the making. Label founder and producer Mark Linn shares, “To describe the record it would take a poet, but all I can say is unveiling a missing chapter in Karen Dalton’s story─with six songs that we’ve never heard her sing before─ is cause for celebration in the world of Delmore.”
In his essay, Needs writes: “Shuckin’ Sugar is of major importance for several reasons. Most obviously because he adds to a catalog with even fewer official releases than his close friend and greatest champion, Fred Neil (if taller on the front of the excavated tape) also sheds light on a missing piece of Karen’s story, capturing rarely documented duets with partner Richard Tucker at full throttle, as well as several superlative solo flights… Since her breathtaking first lift-off with the first blues standard “Trouble In Mind”, the one other world Karen conjured up comes to life. Performing before an audience inevitably tied to the formalities and traditions of the time, Karen instinctively pushing boundaries, straying into uncharted territory beyond established boundaries. She must have confused many who came to see her in those beautiful moments of Peter, Paul and Mary.”
Shuckin’ Sugar follows the internationally acclaimed documentary film Karen Dalton: At My Pace (released last fall on Greenwich Entertainment) and the 50th anniversary celebration of Light in the Attic (featuring an extended and highly acclaimed release of Dalton’s second and final album At my pace, plus a 7″/digital single featuring award-winning singer/songwriter Angel Olsen covering Dalton’s iconic “Something on Your Mind”). Directed by Robert Yapkowitz and Richard Peete, and produced by Delmore, Wim Wenders and Light in the Attic, Karen Dalton: In My Own Time chronicles the life, music and legacy of Dalton and features interviews with his family, friends, collaborators and a variety of artists (including Peter Walker, Nick Cave, Lacy J. Dalton and Vanessa Carlton). Angel Olsen lends her voice to the film as the main narrator, reading aloud from Dalton’s personal diary. Acclaim for the film includes: The Hollywood Reporter (“In sync with a singular musical artist In tune with the haunting poetics of his work.”), The Guardian (“Unvarnished authenticity that cannot be mass-produced.”), The New York Times (“Critic’s Pick: An Elemental Musical Force.”) and The Washington Post (“New film highlights era a fascinating tale of a complex and complex woman singular tale. “). Click here to see the movie trailer.
Learn more about Karen Dalton and Shuckin’ Sugar:
Karen Dalton was an aloof and mercurial creature, a hybrid of tough and tender with an otherworldly voice that seemed to embody a bygone era. As is often the case with such fragile beings, she instinctively realized that if she was to survive the harshness of the world around her, she had to hide. It’s hardly surprising that she rarely sings in public or ventures into the unnatural surroundings of a recording studio. Only twice was she brought into formal studios, for It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best in 1969 and then again for In My Own Time in 1971. The rest of the time she was making music undocumented at home, late at night, sitting with friends, singing songs until sunrise.
In 1962, Dalton summoned her then-husband, Richard Tucker, to join her in Colorado, touting a healthier lifestyle and frequent gigs at Boulder’s folk club, The Attic. Upon Tucker’s arrival, the pair solidified their personal and professional relationship, riding horses in the mountains and performing as a duo at parties and venues across Denver and Boulder. Stories of the spell they invoked and rumors of bands have circulated among friends and musicians who witnessed them, but so far no recorded evidence has emerged.
Shuckin’ Sugar is the glorious result of three reel-to-reel tapes that miraculously found their way to Delmore in November 2018, with two sold-out shows from The Attic in January 1963 and a benefit concert for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE ) recorded the following February (1964). In addition to duets, Dalton and Tucker’s concerts often included brief solo sets by each. All seven of Dalton’s solo songs found on all three reels are included in Shuckin’ Sugar, along with five duets, sequenced as closely as possible to how it all happened.
About the Delmore Recording Society:
The Delmore Recording Society exists to exhibit singular artists who don’t quite fit the world. The pursuit and discovery of lost tapes is another aspect of this mission. The Chicago-based label strives to bring something of value into the world ─ music that could enhance your appreciation for an artist who has been under-recorded or whose recordings have been shelved due to some vagaries of the company. The Delmore family includes Karen Dalton, Fred Neil, Peter Walker, Gary Stewart, Vince Matthews, Jay Bolotin and Diana Darby. Delmore-directed co-productions include Kris Kristofferson – Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends: The Publishing Demos (with Light in the Attic), Love – Lost (with Sundazed) and REAL: The Tom T. Hall Project (with Sire ).
Delmore is Mark Linn (with a ton of help from his friends), who before founding the label in the late 20th century ran Do Easy Bookings/Management, an agency bound by like-minded desires, risking life and integrity physics from Arthur Lee, John Fahey, Michael Hurley, Epic Soundtracks, The Vulgar Boatmen, Moe Tucker, The Skeletons, and more. For more information, visit Delmore Recordings at band camp and follow Facebook and Twitter.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Abralyn Baird, Kai Mort Shuman, Courtesy of Mark Linn and Jan McLain