If there is a more authentic blues and Americana artist working the circuit like Muldaur you're gonna have to prove it to me and show photo i.d. to boot, because First Came Memphis Minnie isn't just a tribute disc to a blues pioneer. No, it's also a fine, living testament to Muldaur's enduring talent and passion.
Her 40th album finds Maria and her ladies—Bonnie Raitt pickin' the acoustic like she hasn't since them early, boozy, blues mama barroom days on Ain't Nothin' In Ramblin', Rory Block revelin' in the sexin' When You Love Me. Ruthie Foster fights off the devil's details by advising Keep Your Big Mouth Closed. Muldaur gratefully and graciously pays homage to the late Phoebe Snow, gloriously remembered here with a her oh so slinky 'n slippery rendition of In My Girlish Days (from the '75 LP It Looks Like Snow), and the one and only Koko Taylor, from her Old School CD, blasting a blistering Black Rat Swing.
Though several of these tracks have been previously released on her early recordings, it's still Maria who shines brightest here. Her voice an expressive, growling, purring, pure earth instrument bringing Minnie's back country blues—the grinding groin charge of Me and My Chauffeur Blues, Tricks Ain't Walkin'; the tender, playful reflection Long As I Can See You Smile; the proud woman walking away from the sweet talker I'm Goin' Back Home.
It takes many of today's loosely defined artistes a whole career to release two knockout discs. First Came Memphis Minnie, coming hot on the heels of Steady Love, is Maria's second for 2012. Enjoy my friends. It really doesn't get much better than this.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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