Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Review -- MARIA MULDAUR -- Naughty, Bawdy & Blue

NAUGHTY, BAWDY & BLUE
Maria Muldaur
Stony Plain Records
9.5-out-of-10

WOW! When it comes to gals singing the blues few are better at it these days than Maria Muldaur.
This is the third Muldaur CD I have had the opportunity to review, dating back to the 2002 release of Richland Woman Blues, which was good enough to garner a Grammy nomination.
Muldaur followed up that tribute to the great female blues performers of the past with Sweet Lovin' Ol' Soul which was released in 2005, which also garnered a Grammy nomination.
And now we have Naughty, Bawdy & Blue, which again pays homage to those who have gone before her. Muldaur has songs here from the likes of Mamie Smith, Sippie Wallace and Victoria Spivey, choosing songs that are about relationships, and the inner strength of women in dealing with them.
In doing so, Muldaur's distinctive, somewhat growly voice never misses a note.
Backing Muldaur on most of the album is James Dapogny's Chicago Jazz Band (who often performed with Sippie Wallace). The band includes clarinet, sax, trumpet, trombone, tuba, banjo, guitar, piano, bass and drums, so there is a rich sound for these songs which are a sultry mix of blues and jazz. Other guests on the CD include Dave Mathews on piano and Kevin Porter on trombone.
As for Muldaur, this gal could have been a start in the 1920s, or 1940s, just as she in in this millennium.
There are 12 songs here, and picking which one is best, is like seeking which one of a pile of diamonds is the best. Pick any song here and you have a gem. Cuts such as Separation Blues (performed with Bonnie Raitt), A Good Man Is Hard To Find and Early Every Morn, are plain fantastic.
If you were going to buy one blues CD this year, you wouldn't go wrong with Naughty, Bawdy & Blue, although the proviso is that you appreciate the old blues, that were sung in smokey bars a half century ago.
Sadly, this is the final chapter in a trilogy of CDs for Stony Plain to honour great women of the blues from the 1920s to 1940s.
Among ladies in the blues today Muldaur is definitely royalty. Check her out at
www.mariamuldaur.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS

-- Reviews first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Aug. 15, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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