Maria Muldaur

Fanning the Flames

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For those who only know of Muldaur through her 1974 hit "Midnight at the Oasis," please scratch that from memory. This lady can flat out sing! Although the CD insert art suggests a "pops orchestra" recording, don't let it mislead you; Muldaur belts out gritty blues and gospel and soulful R&B as very few can. She appropriately terms this musical gumbo "bluesiana." A crack band was assembled featuring longtime Muldaur guitarist Cranston Clements, Dave Torkanowsky on keyboards, and Hutch Hutchinson on bass. Guest singer Johnny Adams joins Muldaur on "Trust in Me," but the two really hit stride as they swap vocal licks on the boogie number "Heaven on Earth." Muldaur and gospel singer Mavis Staples spend themselves emotionally on the mournful duet "Well, Well, Well," accompanied by Clements and guest Sonny Landreth on slide and National steel guitars; rarely has a Bob Dylan song sounded as sweet and alive.

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