176

Maria Muldaur: Meet Me Where They Play The Blues

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
Bob Dole ought to ditch the Viagra and buy Maria Muldaur's latest CD. Muldaur's new one is hotter than Tabasco sauce and a hell of a lot cheaper than those blue pills.

Former pop songstress Muldaur has reconstituted herself as a blues singer while retaining the sexually charged persona that she created with the 1974 hit "Midnight at the Oasis." On Meet Me Where they Play the Blues, Muldaur tackles a subgenre that meshes perfectly with her silky voice and worldly wise style: the jazz-blues hybrid variously known as cool blues or urban blues.

Meet Me was originally intended as a duet album with Charles Brown, the elegant master of the cool blues, but Brown fell ill before the sessions took place. The master bluesman recovered enough to record one track with Muldaur, "Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You," which turned out to be his last recorded work. Sadly Brown passed away of heart failure in January.

Meet Me is a sophisticated blend of Brown's piano-based slow blues, lustful late-night blues, and gospel. The melancholy tunes "All to Myself Alone" and "The Promised Land" most successfully capture Brown's laid-back style, and Muldaur's singing is impeccable on both. On the smoldering tracks "Soothe Me," "I Wanna Be Loved," and "We Can Let It Happen Tonight," Muldaur coos and croons like a bluesy Mae West while a classy combo expertly embellishes her lusty overtures. Credit San Francisco piano-man David Mathews for deftly assuming the instrumental role intended for Brown.

"It Ain't the Meat, it's the Motion" finds Muldaur dabbling in risque swing. This is a song that Muldaur recorded back in the '70s, but it seems a bit out of place on this cool blues collection. More successful is John Hiatt's soulful classic "It Feels Like Rain," which Muldaur transforms into a steamy love paean. "Blue So Bad" is a funky Louisiana swamp rocker. "Misery and the Blues" features a sublime Dixieland horn section, and owes much to one of Muldaur's chief influences, the great Bessie Smith. The gospel cut "He Don't Have the Blues Anymore" is a rather tepid tribute to Brown and New Orleans' Johnny Adams, another cool blues pioneer who passed away last year.

Though it's a bit uneven, Meet Me Where they Play the Blues has enough oomph to put the thrill back into any relationship. Just dim the lights and place it under your beam, baby.

Title: Meet Me Where They Play The Blues | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Telarc Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Sharpener" CD/LP/Track Review Sharpener
by Nick Davies
Published: December 21, 2016
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Holiday On Fire" CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by Doug Collette
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Minor Step" CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Discussions" CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.