Maria Muldaur eclectic self-titled debut album scored gold. On the basis of “Midnight at the Oasis” – a major league pop and rock radio hit – the album peaked at number three on the Billboard magazine album chart. It remains Muldaur’s best-known and, for some music fans, her only song, the singer too often unfairly considered a “one hit wonder.”
For Muldaur, though, that debut album was the culmination of a lifetime of work. The New York native was a veteran of the Greenwich Village folk scene, had studied bluegrass fiddle with the legendary Doc Watson, was a member of the Even Dozen Jug Band with John Sebastian and David Grisman, and sang in the Jim Kweskin Jug Band with Geoff Muldaur, her future husband and recording partner (the duo recording a pair of albums together).
When Muldaur launched her solo career in the early 1970s, she called upon talented friends like Ry Cooder, Dr. John, Bettye LaVette, Klaus Voorman, and Amos Garrett, who played guitar on the hit “Midnight at the Oasis.” The album’s mix of rock, pop, blues, country, and bluegrass was ambitious even by the standards of the era, and it features songs penned by some of the hottest talents at the time, including Dan Hicks, Wendy Waldman, and Kate McGarrigle. The album has held up phenomenally well due to Muldaur’s gorgeous vocals and the musicianship provided by her friends.
Maria Muldaur, the album, has been reissued on glorious 200 gram vinyl by Exhibit Records, with the colorful original album artwork presented in a sturdy, old-school tip-on gatefold jacket. The label is earning a reputation for releasing high-quality vinyl LPs across a diverse range of musical styles, from Muldaur and Johnny Cash to the Dillards and Trini Lopez. After the success of her self-titled debut, Muldaur would release a handful of acclaimed major label albums through the rest of the 1970s while experiencing diminished commercial returns.
Although she’d never again match the commercial heights of her debut album, Muldaur continues to perform and record, returning to her musical roots and finding a home in the blues world. Since 1980, Muldaur has released better than three dozen albums of blues, rock, and folk music, including a tribute to the legendary Memphis Minnie released in 2012. It all started with the self-titled Maria Muldaur, though, and it’s good to have the album back on vinyl once again.
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
1. Don't You Make Me High (Don't You Feel My Leg)
2. Walkin' One and Only
3. Long Hard Climb
4. Three Dollar Bill
5. Vaudeville Man
6. Mad Mad Me