New music brings out the sassy in Maria Muldaur
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.’ ”