Geoff Muldaur was an East Coast blues guitarist who made his mark with his long association with the fabled Jim Kweskin Jug Band, and afterwards as a solo artist, and with his then-wife, singer Maria Muldaur. A connoisseur of Delta blues and Depression-era jug band music, he is a fine stylist as well as musical historian... Here's a quick look at his work.
Geoff Muldaur "Sleepy Man Blues" (Prestige, 1963)
Geoff Muldaur & Maria Muldaur "Pottery Pie" (Warner/Reprise, 1970)
Geoff Muldaur & Maria Muldaur "Sweet Potatoes" (Warner/Reprise, 1972)
Paul Butterfield's Better Days "Better Days" (Warner/Bearsville, 1973)
Paul Butterfield's Better Days "It All Comes Back" (Warner/Bearsville, 1973)
Geoff Muldaur "Having A Wonderful Time" (Warner/Reprise, 1975)
(Produced by Joe Boyd)
Muldaur took his love of jug band-retro to another level with this set of sleek, beautifully arranged jazz standards and "sweet band" jazz, gospel and mellow old-school R&B. The clean, unfussy production highlights Muldaur's vocals, and reminds me quite a bit of the early, classic Ry Cooder albums... There's an amazing and somewhat surprising lineup of jazz, rock and twang talent on here, ranging from country folk such as Bill Keith and Ponti Bone to rockers like James Booker, John Cale and Richard Thompson, as well as a slew of jazz players (Ron Carter, Bob Wilbur, etc. and blues picking by guitarist Amos Garrett, who became Muldaur's touring partner for several years. This is a sweet, defiantly idiosycratic album that may have appealled to longtime fans, but was certainly not destined to be a big seller for the folks at Warner Brothers. God bless the '70s for fostering the experimentation of the times... hard to imagine a record like this getting made today!
Geoff Muldaur "Motion" (Warner/Reprise, 1976)
Geoff Muldaur & Amos Garrett "Geoff Muldaur & Amos Garrett" (Flying Fish, 1978)
Geoff Muldaur "Blues Boy" (Flying Fish, 1979)
Geoff Muldaur "I Ain't Drunk" (Hannibal, 1986) (LP)
Geoff Muldaur "The Secret Handshake" (Hightone, 1998)
Great "comeback" album for former Kweskin Jug Band-member and Marin County '60s-survivor/mystery man. With economy and ease, Geoff Muldaur weighs in with a solid, soulful, blues-based album. A few tracks slip into mildly embarrassing hippie boogie blues, but others, such as "Wild Ox Moan" and "Got To Find Blind Melon" approach the sublime. His voice has aged well and his delivery is confident and masterful. Highly recommended!
Geoff Muldaur "Password" (HighTone, 2000)
Geoff Muldaur & Amos Garrett "Live In Japan" (Yupiteru-Japan, 2001)
Geoff Muldaur "Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere" (Tradition & Moderne, 2003)
Texas Sheiks "Texas Sheiks" (Tradition & Moderne, 2009)
Geoff Muldaur/Various Artists "Jug Band Extravaganza" (Folk Era, 2010)
A deliriously fun all-star summit meeting in celebration of jug band music, its early 20th Century origins and giddy revival during the early years of the 1960's folk scene. Onstage are luminaries such as Jim Kweskin, Geoff and Maria Muldaur, John Sebastian and mandolinist David Grisman, all of whom were in early jug bands, and all of whom play with great energy, enthusiasm, and affection for the bluesy music of their youth. Sebastian -- formerly of the Lovin' Spoonful, who cannily transformed jug band music into psychedelicized Top Forty pop -- acts as the frontman and MC for the show, although everyone takes turns in the spotlight. This concert (which I wish I'd gone to!) was the brainchild of filmmaker Todd Kwait, who got the jug band bug and looked up the biggest stars of the genre, in order to make a (fun, fascinating) documentary about the music and its history, called "Chasin' Gus' Ghost." One focus of his explorations was 1920s bandleader Gus Cannon, who recorded an early version of the song "Walk Right In," which decades later became a huge pop hit for the Rooftop Singers, back in 1963. Cannon is a legendary figure among jug band connoisseurs, and the saltiness and good humor of his music echoes in these knowing, playful performances of standards such as "Stealin'," "Wild Ox Moan" and "Gee, Baby Ain't I Good To You." If you're halfway tempted, go ahead and dive in -- both the movie and the album are a delight.
Geoff Muldaur "Private Astronomy: A Vision Of The Music Of Bix Beiderbecke" (Deutsche Grammophon, 2011)
Geoff Muldaur "Innovative Arrangements For American Blues/Roots Guitar Taught By Geoff Muldaur" (Homespun Tapes, 2010) (DVD)
Geoff Muldaur "The Guitar Artistry Of Geoff Muldaur" (Vestapol, 2010) (DVD)
Hick Music Index