Richland Woman Blues

Richland Woman Blues

by Maria Muldaur
     
 

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It's been a long, long time since vocalist Maria Muldaur has put out an album as folky as Richland Woman Blues. In the '60s she was associated with the jug band sound, and the '70s brought her pop success with "Midnight at the Oasis." During the '90s, Muldaur turned toward the electric blues, and now she brings it all back home with acoustic covers of deepSee more details below

Overview

It's been a long, long time since vocalist Maria Muldaur has put out an album as folky as Richland Woman Blues. In the '60s she was associated with the jug band sound, and the '70s brought her pop success with "Midnight at the Oasis." During the '90s, Muldaur turned toward the electric blues, and now she brings it all back home with acoustic covers of deep blues penned by Mississippi John Hurt, Leadbelly, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Rev. Gary Davis, Memphis Minnie, Bessie Smith, and Clara Smith. For her interpretations Muldaur took a host of fellow blues, folk, and pop performers into the studio for the down-home session. Bonnie Raitt joins her on vocals and plays slide guitar on McDowell's gospel tune "It's a Blessing," and the two sound as spirited as if they had just been baptized in the Mississippi. Also in the church pew is Muldaur's duet with Taj Mahal on Blind Willie Johnson's "Soul of a Man." John Sebastian's guitar work on Hurt's "Richland Woman Blues" buoys Muldaur's voice with the mellow sounds of Piedmont picking, while Amos Garrett's 12-string style and David Wilkie's mandocello provide a rough droning for her to moan Leadbelly's woes on "Grasshoppers in My Pillow." Alvin Youngblood Hart plays and sings on two Memphis Minnie numbers, "I'm Goin' Back Home" and "I Got to Move," and Bay Area blues guitar veteran Roy Rogers gives a bounce to Minnie's "Me and My Chauffeur Blues." For material from the '20s and '30s, Muldaur uses only Tower of Power piano alumni Dave Matthews, giving Bessie Smith's "Put It Right Here" and "Lonesome Desert Blues" that old-timey feel. Mother Earth vocalist Tracy Nelson takes over lead vocals on Smith's "Far Away Blues," while Texas singer Angela Strehli duets on "My Man Blues." These cuts with an all-female vocal cast are a vivid reminder of just who owned the blues when it first garnered mass appeal. And Muldaur has just the right mix of grit and glamour to revive the era on Richland Woman Blues.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Hal Horowitz
Best known for that ditty about camels, Maria Muldaur has since established herself as one of the finest folk/country/jazz/blues/gospel interpreters ever to have a Top Five single. After 26 years and 24 solo albums, Muldaur -- inspired by a trip to Memphis' Beale Street -- digs deep into her roots and pays tribute to the classic blues women of the '20s and '30s. Aided by the similarly inclined Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, and Alvin "Youngblood" Hart, Muldaur breezes through 14 tunes from icons Bessie Smith and Memphis Minnie, as well as obscurities from the Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, and Blind Willie Johnson. Keeping the unplugged accompaniment stripped way down to a single guitar or piano and occasional bass, Muldaur has room to maneuver her evocative vocals that shift from gritty groans to a high-pitched edgy trill. Far from a dry history lesson, these songs are performed with the strength and tenacity of the women who originally sang them. Whether spinning saucy, double entendre lyrics in "Me and My Chauffeur Blues" ("the way you ride so easy, I can't turn you down") or longing for her Southern home after moving north during the Depression in Bessie Smith's "Far Away Blues," the singer remains invigorated and inspired throughout. By returning to her late-'60s Jim Kweskin Jug Band coffeehouse days, Maria Muldaur has discovered her middle-aged oasis with Richland Woman Blues. And there's not a camel in sight.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/15/2001
Label:
Stony Plain Music
UPC:
0772532127028
catalogNumber:
1270
Rank:
52276

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Richland Woman Blues  - Maria Muldaur
  2. Grasshoppers in My Pillow  - David Wilkie
  3. It's a Blessing  - Maria Muldaur
  4. Me and My Chauffeur Blues  - Roy Rogers
  5. Put It Right Here (Or Keep It Out There)  - Dave Mathews
  6. My Man Blues  - Angela Strehli
  7. In My Girlish Days  - Angela Strehli
  8. In My Girlish Days  - Roy Rogers
  9. Far Away Blues  - Maria Muldaur
  10. I Got to Move  - Alvin Youngblood Hart
  11. Lonesome Desert Blues  - Dave Matthews
  12. Soul of a Man  - Maria Muldaur
  13. I Belong to That Band  - Ernie Hawkins
  14. It's a Blessing (Reprise)  - Maria Muldaur

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Maria Muldaur   Primary Artist,Vocals
Jim Kweskin   Indexed Contributor
Taj Mahal   Guitar,Vocals
Bonnie Raitt   Vocals
John Sebastian   Guitar
Tracy Nelson   Vocals
Amos Garrett   12-string Guitar
Roly Salley   Bass
Angela Strehli   Vocals
David Wilkie   Mandocello
Alvin Youngblood Hart   Guitar,Vocals
Dave Mathews   Piano

Technical Credits

Maria Muldaur   Producer,Liner Notes
Porter Grainger   Composer
John Jacob   Producer,Engineer,Digital Editing
Peter Moore   Mastering
Holger Petersen   Executive Producer
Rowland Salley   Paintings
Dave Wellhausen   Engineer
Mike Dysinger   Engineer

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