Yes We Can!

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
There are a number of arguments to be made for and against Maria Muldaur's 2008 antiwar statement Yes We Can! on Telarc (before actually listening to it; remember, we live in a cynical culture). The "perceived" negatives all relate to the intent of the recording and who it's supposed to reach (no doubt an expression of the same set of beliefs rooted in Muldaur's 1960s music), and the fact that it's loaded with guests (in all fairness, these star-studded affairs seldom work). On Yes We Can!, her guests include Muldaur's old friends (Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, Phoebe Snow, Jane Fonda, and Holly Near) and influences (Odetta) and new pals (writers/spiritual gurus Anne Lamott and ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
There are a number of arguments to be made for and against Maria Muldaur's 2008 antiwar statement Yes We Can! on Telarc (before actually listening to it; remember, we live in a cynical culture). The "perceived" negatives all relate to the intent of the recording and who it's supposed to reach (no doubt an expression of the same set of beliefs rooted in Muldaur's 1960s music), and the fact that it's loaded with guests (in all fairness, these star-studded affairs seldom work). On Yes We Can!, her guests include Muldaur's old friends (Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, Phoebe Snow, Jane Fonda, and Holly Near) and influences (Odetta) and new pals (writers/spiritual gurus Anne Lamott and Marianne Williamson, and Indian spiritual teacher Amma). Does it read as if it is yet another exercise in self-referential backslapping? Yep. But don't believe everything you read on the back of a CD jacket. The positives are all musical. First off, Muldaur hasn't sounded this funky in years -- if ever! The set was co-produced by Muldaur and Joel Jaffe. The sound is, for the most part, dirty, raw, and angular, ranging from deep Southern blues to Cajun, gospel, rhythm & blues, and soul -- no matter where the songs come from originally. Her great influence, Memphis Minnie, would have been proud of Muldaur's use of the Southern inflection that sounds unaffected even though she was born in New York. Credit for the sonics falls equally with the production and arrangements (handled heroically by David Torkanowsky) and the musicianship (the Free Radicals and the Women's Voices for Peace Choir). The track selection is killer to boot: Edwin Starr's "War (What Is It Good For)," Allen Toussaint's title track, Bob Dylan's "License to Kill" and "Masters of War," Garth Brooks' beautiful "We Shall Be Free" (with deeply moving solo spots from her guests), Elbernita Terrell's (from Detroit's wonderful gospel group the Clark Sisters) "Pray for the USA," and the traditional "Down by the Riverside." Of the two Dylan tracks, "License to Kill" rivals the original. Muldaur understates the lyric, bringing out its nuances and the hidden power in the melody. Muldaur's reading of Timmy Thomas' "Why Can't We Live Together" drips with sincerity and is delivered with expert control -- she's a true craftswoman as a vocalist, always resisting the temptation to over-sing. That said, Muldaur may have lost her "good girl gone bad" seductiveness of the early '70s, but what she replaces it with is far more sultry because there isn't anything here but the desire to communicate the emotional intention of these songs in her husky, deeply soulful voice. Old hippies may be drawn to this set for its guests and track list, but any fan of bona fide, honestly performed, deeply emotional American music will be knocked out by it as well.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/22/2008
  • Label: Telarc
  • UPC: 089408367229
  • Catalog Number: 83672
  • Sales rank: 168,826

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Make a Better World - Women's Voices For Peace Choir (4:46)
  2. 2 Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler) - Women's Voices For Peace Choir (5:57)
  3. 3 Yes We Can, Can - Women's Voices For Peace Choir (5:10)
  4. 4 John Brown - Women's Voices For Peace Choir (5:55)
  5. 5 This Old World - Kimberly Bass (3:17)
  6. 6 War - Women's Voices For Peace Choir (5:25)
  7. 7 We Shall Be Free - Women's Voices For Peace Choir (4:50)
  8. 8 License to Kill - Women's Voices For Peace Choir (3:57)
  9. 9 Masters of War (6:00)
  10. 10 Why Can't We Live Together - Women's Voices For Peace Choir (5:57)
  11. 11 Pray for the USA - Women's Voices For Peace Choir (4:29)
  12. 12 Down by the Riverside - Women's Voices For Peace Choir (6:50)
  13. 13 Everyone in the World - Amma (4:29)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Maria Muldaur Primary Artist, Fiddle, Vocals
Jim Kweskin Indexed Contributor
Joan Baez Vocals, Guest Appearance
Holly Near Vocals, Guest Appearance
Linda Tillery Vocals
Bonnie Raitt Vocals, Guest Appearance
Phoebe Snow Vocals, Guest Appearance
David Torkanowsky Keyboards
Jean Shinoda Bolen Vocals, Guest Appearance
Marianne Williamson Vocals, Guest Appearance
Tony Braunagel Percussion, Drums
James "Hutch" Hutchinson Bass Guitar
Joel Jaffe Slide Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar
Jenni Muldaur Vocals
Shane Theriot Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Slide Guitar
Jane Fonda Vocals, Guest Appearance
Suzy Thompson Fiddle
Kimberly Bass Vocals
Anne Lamott Vocals, Guest Appearance
Eric Thompson Banjo
Women's Voices For Peace Choir Track Performer
Technical Credits
Earl King Composer
Garth Brooks Composer
Linda Tillery Vocal Arrangements
Bob Dylan Composer
Marvin Gaye Composer
David Torkanowsky Arranger, Music Direction
Maria Muldaur Composer, Producer, Liner Notes
Barrett Strong Composer
Keta Bill Vocal Arrangements
Jimmy Bralower Engineer
Stephanie Davis Composer
Joel Jaffe Producer, Engineer
Paul Middleton Engineer
Buddy Miller Composer
Jenni Muldaur Vocal Arrangements
Rowland Salley Paintings
Allen Toussaint Composer
Norman Whitfield Composer
Anilda Carrasquillo Art Direction
Mindy Giles Liner Notes
Paul Blakemore Mastering
Traditional Composer
John Jacobs Digital Editing
James Nyx Jr. Composer
Geoff Countryman Engineer
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