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Maria Muldaur - Good Time Music for Hard Times

Good Time Music
for Hard Times

Maria Muldaur

Stony Plain Records - SPCD1332

Available from The Oasis Store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Maria's returning to her roots and not a moment too soon. Before well-deserved Midnight at the Oasis fame, she was a member of the Even Dozen Jug Band, which also numbered John Sebastian and David Grisman...and if I have to explain who they are, you just might be at the wrong site. That estimable group was happy competition to Jim Kweskin and his juggers, so you know we're not talking about just any Haight-Ashbury street buskers here. For Good Time Music, she's rejoined by John and David and another name or two you might have heard about: Dan Hicks and Taj Mahal.

Over half the cuts are traditionals arranged by Maria, two are penned by Hicks, one's a Kweskin melody, and the remaining are standards. To add to the era's ambiance, Neil Osborne kicked in a Robert Crumb-esque trio of cartoons (with just a hint of Jim Grashow)...and Crumb's a huge fan of roots music, a musician in his own Cheap Suit Serenaders ensemble, so the stylistic cop was appropriate in more ways than one. 15 musicians in total appear on Good Time Music, and the sound is as full as a N'awleans street band highsteppin' and swingin' in a swozzled hot afternoon's shade tree gig.

The songs are often relaxed and cool (Let It Simmer etc.) but get swingin' and jug-funky (The Diplomat) as well as mid-tempo'ed pickin' 'n grinnin' with an easy and confident air. Muldaur's in fine fettle, as ever, a natural whether she's tackling blues, gospel, or jug. The central backing unit is an up and coming band, the Crow Quill Night Owls, which boasts a cat who goes by the stage name of 'Kit Stovepipe' and who the chanteuse calls "the best ragtime player she's ever heard". Quite a compliment, but the band more than backs it up with the goods. And do I need to tell ya this is another great Stony Plain release? Probably not. I'm betting you guessed it about halfway in.

Track List:

  • The Diplomat (Dan Hicks)
  • Shake Hands and Tell Me Goodbye (traditional)
  • Shout You Cats (traditional)
  • The Ghost of St. Louis Blues (B. Curtis)
  • Let It Simmer (Dan Hicks)
  • Sweet Lovin' Ol' Soul (traditional)
  • Medley: Life's Too Sort (traditional) / When Elephants Roost in Bamboo Trees (traditional)
  • Garden of Joy (Clifford Hayes)
  • He Calls that Religion (traditional)
  • I Ain't Gonna Marry (Kweskin / Greene / Richmond / Keith)
  • Bank Failure Blues (traditional)
  • The Panic is On (traditional)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

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Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 

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