Jenni's surname will a mystery to no one, as she's the daughter of Maria and Geoff Muldaur and certainly inherited a good deal of her mother's talent. Right from the start, though, Jenni displays a brassier side than Maria as well as a good deal more impact. I've Got a Feelin' is a driving rocker and it's companion, You're Breaking Me Up, swings into just as demanding an energy, horn section counterpointing her strong voice, which ratchets up into a Janis-ish shout.
Dearest Darlin' is not a mannered disc, it stomps and gets raucous, cries and wails, Muldaur not content to behave herself, getting down and sassy, bold and brassy, as each emotion and occasion demands. She's neither mommy's nor daddy's girl but very much her own. Except for the closing track, the singer's chosen songs written by others, none of them standards and none I'm familiar with—though Dearest Darlin' retains the Bo Diddley guitar shuffle and is difficult to mistake—but fresh as hell in her more than competent hands.
Muldaur's backing band is as jumpy and swinging as she, and, regrettably, her guitarist passed away last year, the day before his 29th birthday, but he gets down into some crazy lines and then raves up to light a fire under the band, stoking Jenni to keep her head of steam in full flight. The famed Lenny Pickett appears among a raft of very sympathetic ground level sesioneers, and one can't help but catch refrains of Leon Russell, Tower of Power, Booker T, and a whole raft of Nashville / Memphis / Muscle Shoals greats behind a prime new talent. So, as Just Kiss Me Once intones, all you have to do is listen to Jenni Muldaur "once and you'll be back". And, frankly, given the choice between Maria's next disc and Jenni's? Welllll, I'll wish Mom the best as I take her daughter for a spin on my turntable. And I'm not the only one: Jenni's already appeared on records and tours behind Eric Clapton, Todd Rundgren, John Cale (!), and a ton of others.
Geez…the competition nowadays! I'm not sure my turntable's big enough for all that.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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