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Maria Muldaur

Best known for her seductive '70s pop staple "Midnight at the Oasis," Maria Muldaur has since become an acclaimed interpreter of just about every stripe of American roots music: blues, early jazz, gospel, folk, country, R&B, and so on. While these influences were certainly present on her more pop-oriented '70s recordings (as befitting her Greenwich Village folkie past), Muldaur came into her own as a true roots music stylist during the '90s, when she developed a particular fascination with the myriad sounds of Louisiana. On the string of well-received albums that followed, Muldaur tied her eclecticism together with the romantic sensuality that had underpinned much of her best work ever since the beginning of her career.

Muldaur was born Maria D'Amato on September 12, 1943, in New York. As a child, she loved country & western music and began singing it with her aunt at age five; during her teenage years, she moved on to R&B, early rock & roll, and girl group pop, and in high school formed a group in the latter style called the Cashmeres. Growing up in the Greenwich Village area, however, she naturally became fascinated with its booming early-'60s folk revival and soon began participating in jam sessions. She also moved to North Carolina for a while to study Appalachian-style fiddle with Doc Watson. Back in New York, she was invited to join the Even Dozen Jug Band, a revivalist group that included John Sebastian, David Grisman, and Stefan Grossman; they had secured a recording deal with blueswoman Victoria Spivey's label and she wanted them to add some sex appeal. The young D'Amato got a crash course in early blues, particularly the Memphis scene that spawned many of the original jug bands, and counted Memphis Minnie as one of her chief influences.

Elektra Records bought out the Even Dozen Jug Band's contract and released their self-titled debut album in 1964; however, true to their name, the band's unwieldy size made them an expensive booking on the club and coffeehouse circuit and they soon disbanded. Many of the members went off to college and, in 1964, D'Amato moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to another vibrant folk scene. She quickly joined the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and began an affair with singer Geoff Muldaur; the couple eventually married and had a daughter, Jenni, who would later become a singer in her own right. When the Kweskin band broke up in 1968, the couple stayed with their label (Reprise) and began recording together as Geoff & Maria Muldaur. They moved to Woodstock, New York to take advantage of the burgeoning music scene there and issued two albums -- 1970's Pottery Pie and 1971's Sweet Potatoes -- before Geoff departed in 1972 to form Better Days with Paul Butterfield, a move that signaled not only the end of the couple's musical partnership, but their marriage as well.

With Maria initially unsure about her musical future, her friends encouraged her to pursue a solo career, as did Reprise president Mo Ostin. Muldaur went to Los Angeles and recorded her debut album Maria Muldaur in 1973, scoring a massive Top Ten pop hit with "Midnight at the Oasis." Showcasing Muldaur's playfully sultry crooning, the Middle Eastern-themed song became a pop radio staple for years to come and also made session guitarist Amos Garrett a frequent Muldaur collaborator in the future. Muldaur's next album, 1974's Waitress in a Donut Shop, featured a hit remake of her Even Dozen-era signature tune, "I'm a Woman." Three more Reprise albums followed over the course of the '70s, generally with the cream of the L.A. session crop, but also with increasingly diminishing results.

Around 1980, Muldaur became a born-again Christian; she recorded a live album of traditional gospel songs, Gospel Nights, for the smaller Takoma label in 1980, and moved into full-fledged CCM with 1982's There Is a Love, recorded for the Christian label Myrrh. However, this new direction did not prove permanent, and for 1983's Sweet and Slow, Muldaur recorded an album of jazz and blues standards (many with longtime cohort Dr. John on piano) that created exactly the mood its title suggested. Released in 1986, the jazzy Transblucency won a year-end critics' award from The New York Times. Muldaur spent the rest of the '80s touring, often with Dr. John, and also began acting in musicals, appearing in productions of Pump Boys and Dinettes and The Pirates of Penzance. In 1990, she recorded an album of classic country songs, On the Sunny Side, that was specifically geared toward children; it proved a surprising success, both critically and among its intended audience.

Partly inspired by Dr. John's New Orleans obsessions, Muldaur signed to the rootsy Black Top label in 1992 and cut Louisiana Love Call, which established her as a versatile stylist accomplished in blues, gospel, New Orleans R&B, Memphis blues, and soul. The album won wide acclaim as one of the best works of her career, offering a more organic, stripped-down approach than her '70s pop albums, and became the best-selling record in the Black Top catalog. Her 1994 follow-up, Meet Me at Midnite, was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award. Muldaur next cut a jazzier outing for the Canadian roots label Stony Plain, 1995's Jazzabelle. She subsequently signed with Telarc and returned to her previous direction, making her label debut with 1996's well-received Fanning the Flames. Released in 1998, Southland of the Heart was a less bluesy outing recorded in Los Angeles, arriving the same year as a second children's album, Swingin' in the Rain, a collection of swing tunes and pop novelties from the '30s and '40s. Meet Me Where They Play the Blues, issued in 1999, was intended to be a collaboration with West Coast blues piano legend Charles Brown, but Brown's health problems prevented him from contributing much (just one vocal on "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You"); thus, the project became more of a tribute.

Muldaur moved back to Stony Plain for 2001's Richland Woman Blues, a tribute to early blues artists (particularly women) inspired by a visit to Memphis Minnie's grave. Featuring a variety of special guest instrumentalists, Richland Woman Blues was nominated for a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album. The children's album Animal Crackers in My Soup: The Songs of Shirley Temple appeared in 2002. The next year saw the release of Woman Alone with the Blues, a collection of songs associated with Peggy Lee, on Telarc Records. Love Wants to Dance followed in 2004, also on Telarc. The mostly acoustic Sweet Lovin' Ol' Soul was issued by Stony Plain in 2005, followed by Heart of Mine: Love Songs of Bob Dylan on Telarc in 2006. Songs for the Young at Heart was also released in 2006. The following year, the last in the set of three albums that paid tribute to female blues singers of the 1920s through 1940s, Naughty, Bawdy and Blue (the other two were Richland Woman Blues and Sweet Lovin' Ol' Soul), came out. The antiwar-themed Yes We Can!, which featured Muldaur singing with the Women's Voices for Peace Choir, was released in 2008. Muldaur next released another children's album, Barnyard Dance: Jug Band Music for Kids, in 2010, following it with the New Orleans-flavored Steady Love on Stony Plain in 2011. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Garden Of Joy

1. The Diplomat

2. Shake Hands And Tell Me Goodbye

3. Shout You Cats

4. The Ghost Of The St Louis Blues

5. Let It Simmer

6. Sweet Lovin' Ol' Soul

8. Garden Of Joy

9. He Calls That Religion

10. I Ain't Gonna Marry

11. Bank Failure Blues

12. The Panic Is On

x

Track List: Yes We Can

1. Make A Better World

2. Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler)

3. Yes We Can Can

4. John Brown

5. This Old World

6. War

7. We Shall Be Free

8. License To Kill

9. Masters Of War

10. Why Can't We Live Together

11. Pray For The Usa

12. Down By The Riverside

13. Everyone In The World

x

Track List: Heart Of Mine

1. Buckets Of Rain

2. Lay Baby Lay (Lay Lady Lay)

3. To Be Alone With You

4. Heart Of Mine

5. Make You Feel My Love

6. Moonlight

7. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go

8. Golden Loom

9. On A Night Like This

10. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight

11. Wedding Song

12. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere

x

Track List: 30 Years Of Maria Muldaur: I'm A Woman

1. I'm A Woman

2. Midnight At The Oasis

3. My Tennessee Mountain Home

4. The Work Song

6. It Ain't The Meat (It's The Motion)

7. Don't You Make Me High (Don't You Feel My Leg)

8. Three Dollar Bill

9. Cajun Moon

10. Louisiana Love Call

11. Best Of Me

12. It Feels Like Rain

14. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You

15. Get Up, Get Ready

16. Somebody Was Watching Over Me

17. Well, Well, Well

18. Soul Of A Man

19. It's A Blessing

x

Track List: Classic Live!

1. If You Haven't Any Hay

2. Three Dollar Bill

3. Richland Woman Blues

5. My Tennessee Mountain Home

6. Work Song

7. Don't You Feel My Leg

10. Midnight At The Oasis

13. Travelin' Shoes

x

Track List: A Woman Alone With The Blues

1. Fever

2. I Don't Know Enough About You

3. Moments Like This

4. Winter Weather

5. Some Cats Know

6. Everything Is Moving Too Fast

7. Waitin' For The Train To Come In

8. The Freedom Train

9. Black Coffee

10. A Woman Alone With The Blues

11. For Every Man There's A Woman

12. I'm Gonna Go Fishin'

x

Track List: Meet Me At Midnight

1. Trouble With My Lover

2. Meet Me At Midnight

3. Send The Man Back Home

4. Sweet Simple Love

5. Power In Music

6. Taste The Pain

7. The Trouble With Love

8. Recoverd Soul

9. Down So Low

10. Server Somebody

11. Woman's Lament

12. Mississippi Muddy Water

x

Track List: Louisiana Love Call

1. Second Line

2. Best Of Me

3. Louisiana Love Call

4. Cajun Moon

5. Creole Eyes

6. Blues Wave

7. Dem Dat Know

8. So Many Rivers To Cross

9. Don't You Feel My Leg

10. Layin' Right Here In Heaven

11. Without A Friend Like You

12. Southern Music

x

Track List: Sweet And Slow

1. Cooking Breakfast For The One I Love

2. Adam And Eve Had The Blues

3. Blues For Hoagy

4. There's Going To Be The Devil To Pay

5. Sweet And Slow

6. Brother, Seek And Yee Shall Find

7. Oh Papa

8. Loverman

9. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You

10. Prelude To A Kiss

x

Track List: Waitress In The Donut Shop

1. Squeeze Me

2. Gringo En Mexico

3. Cool River

4. I'm A Woman

5. Sweetheart

6. Honey Babe Blues

7. If You Haven't Any Hay

8. Oh Papa

9. It Ain't The Meat It's The Motion

10. Brickyard Blues

11. Travelin' Shoes

x

Track List: Maria Muldaur

1. Any Old Time

2. Midnight At The Oasis

3. My Tennessee Mountain Home

4. I Never Did Sing You A Love Song

5. The Work Song

6. Don't You Make Me High

7. Walkin' One & Only

8. Long Hard Climb

9. Three Dollar Bill

10. Vaudeville Man

11. Mad, Mad Me

x

Track List: Richland Woman Blues

1. Richland Woman Blues

2. Grasshoppers In My Pillow

3. It's A Blessing

4. Me And My Chauffeur Blues

5. Put It Right Here

6. I'm Goin' Back Home

7. My Man Blues

8. In My Girlish Days

9. Far Away Blues

10. I Got To Move

11. Lonesome Desert Blues

12. Soul Of A Man

13. I Belong To That Band

14. It's A Blessing (Reprise)

x

Track List: Steady Love

1. I'll Be Glad

2. Why Are People Like That?

3. Soulful Dress

4. Blues Go Walking

5. I’ve Done Made It Up In My Mind

6. Walk By Faith

7. As An Eagle Stirreth In Her Nest

8. Rain Down Tears

9. Get You Next To Me

10. Steady Love

11. Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down

12. Please Send Me Someone To Love

13. I Am Not Alone

Comments

Report as inappropriate
justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
Didn't she sing with Garcia at some point? Great America String Band, perhaps?
Report as inappropriate
Always loved her voice
Report as inappropriate
Well, Miles, my screen portion of Pandora is cuto off on the right side so i can't read your party joke but I hope you find what you are looking for.
Report as inappropriate
miles.mayo4
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes . When done press f6 and your lovers name Will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works.
Report as inappropriate
I'm not feeling it. Send your camel to bed.
Report as inappropriate
I want this voice !!
Report as inappropriate
Do it maria,I love your voice,filled with raspy goodness.I lose my mind when I hear Midnight at the Oasis.
Report as inappropriate
haven't heard Maria for some time
Report as inappropriate
what a talented lady...why don't we hear more of her....?
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rj.madness
this goddes captured my soul when she sung the answer part on CHEVROLET with jim kweskin in the 60's wa-hoooooooo i'll take that superball
Report as inappropriate
a talented artist don't hear from her much
Report as inappropriate
hammondde
wow! brings me back to the 70s when i was a child. carefree days...
Report as inappropriate
rj.madness
been in love with this oddes since the kweskin years...supe r b a l l
Report as inappropriate
i remember her on martin scorse movie about dylan mano man I'm in love
Report as inappropriate
My Wife and I have never seen her live until last night at a small venue (300 capacity) @ the Bull Run in Shirley Machusetts. There were only about 100 fans but it was really a great, high energy show. She was excellent! She also has a young lead guitarist that recently joined the band and he was excellent! She mentioned that her new disc was released 2 days ago and she did quite a few selections from it and they were for the most part all good. It is her 39 album!
Report as inappropriate
Sweet Harmony is one of my faves!
Report as inappropriate
Saw her live a few years ago - had always been a fan before but fell for her big time all over again. Her music is incredible but her sultry voice, saucy style and in-your-face delivery make her a true original. She's incredible.
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alittleblueh o u s e
saucy ladies! Love this station
Report as inappropriate
I have been hed over heals in LOVE with Maria's music sence 1972.
Report as inappropriate
loriubell
Why doesn't Pandora have Fanning the Flames in the discography? A great album!
Report as inappropriate
Jim Kweskin Jug Band coming up for Maria Muldaur bio.
Report as inappropriate
cmpeters0
The first time I saw Maria perform was at a free concert in the early 70's. As with fine wine she has just gotten better.
Report as inappropriate
a women my heart always wanted to be like, she has done what I would only dream of
Report as inappropriate
gyles54
powerfull voice, makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck
Report as inappropriate
A classic beauty with a clear as crystal voice...her recording with Dylan is a classic and hard to find. Hope she keeps going, we would miss her.

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