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Maria MuldaurMaria Muldaur
Album: Sweet Harmony/Southern Winds/Open Your Eyes
Label: BGO
Tracks: 30
Website: http://www.bgo-records.com

Another in the excellent re-releases from Beat Goes On Records, this time it's three albums recorded by Maria Muldaur for Warner/Reprise in the 1970's.

I will admit to owning two of these originally on vinyl, the first, "Sweet Harmony" is already a clear favourite. It's perfect music for a relaxing Sunday, a veritable rainbow of influences, from Hoagy Carmicheal (Rockin' Chair), through Smokey Robinson (Sweet Harmony) to Kate McGarrigle (Lying Song) there is almost nothing this woman can't sing and in doing so improve.

A warm, seductive yet powerful voice that draws you in, Maria who had a hit with "Midnight at the Oasis" could also rock. On this album she blasts out a reworking of the old Gospel song John the Revelator now called "Jon The Generator".

At the other end of the spectrum is Wendy Waldmans' "Wild Bird", a love song for those of us who had dreams of being in front of a fire with the one you love and then wondering if it will last. Classical guitar, bass and flute and her voice, it's minimalistic and mesmerising, there's a link below if you have the time.

Neil Sedaka's "Sad Eyes" gets the Muldaur treatment with J.J.Cale assisting with his tasteful slide guitar.

"Southern Winds", the second album, drifts into a harder rockier vein, combining blues, funk, soul and all. All through it though Maria's voice is mesmerising, yet as she didn't write any material it is the choice of the songs that she covers that ultimately you remember.

Never afraid to promote the little known such as "Here Is Where Your Love Belongs" from San Francisco's Sons Of Champlin or indeed mix that with Leon Russell's "Joyful Noise", it's eclectic stuff. The highlight for me though is JJ Cale's "Cajun Moon", I could hit auto repeat and just listen to that song all day long.

The third album here is "Open Your Eyes", chasing the commercial pop that saw "Midnight At The Oasis" hit the charts. It wasn't to be, the record though did yield "Finally Made Love To A Man" and "Elona" which are slow paced heart achingly gorgeous tracks that grabbed me as young lover and still do to this day.

Growing up immersed in this music, it's lovely to re-visit and stay a while, the remastering in High Definition is absolutely crystal clear and the accompanying extensive sleeve notes by respected music journalist John Tobler will fill you in with the whole story including the A list of musicians who contributed along the way to hese three albums.

Maria would go on to appear on over 40 albums, she still performs to this day, and if you are not familiar then this is a good place to settle down, kick off your shoes, relax and enjoy.

Taste, I guess is the way I'd sum up this release in a single word.

A well appreciated re-issue.

Ian Cripps