Maria Muldaur - vocals, tambourine; David Nichtern - guitar; Ellen Kearney - guitar; John Gutcheon - piano; John Kahn - bass; Earl Palmer - drums
From her early 1960s Jug Band recordings to the present day, Maria Muldaur stands unique in her ability to transcend categorization. For over forty years, Muldaur has shared her deep love of roots music with audiences throughout the country, and as a result, built up a reputation as a gifted performer. By carefully selecting her repertoire from the best North American songwriters, she has encompassed the blues of the Mississippi Delta, New Orleans gospel and jazz, Western swing, Appalachian bluegrass/country and everything in between. Though best known for her 1973 hit "Midnight At The Oasis," Muldaur has always been much more than a one-hit wonder. Blessed with a voice that remains convincing regardless of the genre, her performances offer a compelling study in American musicology.
This excerpt, recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, shortly after the release of her genre-breaking second solo album, Waitress In A Donut Shop, captures Muldaur at her commercial peak and backed by a stellar band. The sparser (no big band or horn section) arrangement of "Don't You Feel My Leg" epitomizes Muldaur's sweet and sexy side with a jazzy feel that is immediately infectious.
The classic blues of "Nobody's Fault But Mine" follows, engaging the audience to join in. Muldaur's take on Billy Holiday's "Lover Man (Where Can You Be)" is particularly fascinating, as she wouldn't get around to releasing this song until almost a decade later. This earlier performance easily stands up to her finest material from this era. The recording closes with one of Muldaur's signature tunes, "I'm A Woman (W-O-M-A-N)." She began performing this song during her tenure with The Jim Kweskin Jug Band in the '60s, and it remains in her repertoire to this day. Sweetened by the supple backing of her band, the tune provides another fine backdrop for Muldaur's distinctive voice, style and sense of humor.
As these songs clearly show, Muldaur's repertoire goes beyond any one niche and cannot be categorized. Her innate ability to balance sweetness and strength within the blues, gospel, jazz or any style she chooses to tackle, makes any Maria Muldaur show a rewarding experience for anyone willing to listen - a true national treasure.