New mu­sic brings out the sassy in Maria Mul­daur

Albuquerque Journal - - ARTS - BY ADRIAN GOMEZ JOUR­NAL ARTS EDI­TOR

Maria Mul­daur is all about tak­ing chances.

Over the course of more than 50-year career, the folk and blues singer has done ev­ery­thing her way.

In fact, the 74-year-old mu­si­cian is in the stu­dio record­ing al­bum No. 41 — “Don’t You Feel My Leg: The Naughty Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker.” And it’s some­thing she’s wanted to do for close to 40 years.

“On my first al­bum, I recorded the song ‘Don’t You Feel My Leg’ by Blue Lu Barker. And it’s a sassy song,” Mul­daur says in a re­cent phone in­ter­view. “Al­though the song wasn’t a huge hit, DJs were telling the record com­pany that should be my next sin­gle. We ended up not re­leas­ing it, be­cause the record com­pany was con­cerned that I would end up be­ing char­ac­ter­ized as a sex sym­bol. I orig­i­nally didn’t see any­thing wrong with it. I wanted to be seen as a se­ri­ous artist.”

Decades later, the song is a sta­ple in Mul­daur’s sets, and she is pay­ing homage to Barker with the al­bum.

“Blu Lu was an amaz­ing jazz and blues singer,” Mul­daur says. “Many of her songs were saucy. She was ahead of her time and cre­ated some last­ing mu­sic.”

The im­pe­tus for the al­bum was a few years ago at a Barker trib­ute con­cert in New Or­leans.

“Once we did the con­cert, peo­ple rushed to the CD ta­ble and there was noth­ing,” she says. “That’s what gave me this idea. Blue Lu is this hid­den trea­sure that should be brought into the light.”

Mul­daur is best-known world­wide for her 1974 me­gahit “Mid­night at the Oa­sis,” which re­ceived

Grammy nom­i­na­tions, and en­shrined her for­ever in the hearts of baby boomers ev­ery­where.

De­spite her con­sid­er­able pop mu­sic suc­cess, her 50-year career could best be de­scribed a long and ad­ven­tur­ous odyssey through the var­i­ous forms of Amer­i­can roots mu­sic.

Dur­ing the folk re­vival of the early ’60s, she be­gan ex­plor­ing and singing early blues, bluegrass and Ap­palachian “old timey” mu­sic.

She’s criss­crossed gen­res and has a leg­endary cat­a­log to choose from.

“At my shows, I get up on stage, and it’s sim­ple,” she says. “My motto is, ‘Big and small, I play them all.’ ”

COUR­TESY OF OA­SIS PRO­DUC­TIONS

Leg­endary singer Maria Mul­daur is fin­ish­ing up the fi­nal touches on her upcoming 41st al­bum, “Don’t You Feel My Leg: The Naughty Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker.”

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