Maria Muldaur

Richland Woman Blues

With this terrific acoustic album, tough and seductive Maria Muldaur has not only touched the hem of the garments of classic blues singers Memphis Minnie and Bessie Smith, she’s earned the right to wear those dresses. Inspired by a visit to Minnie’s Delta gravesite, Muldaur has produced a classic, with liner notes revealing her devoted, lifelong blues journey. She growls, purrs and testifies superbly, joined by other "students" who were passed the blues torch and now come on home with her in duo and trio settings—John Sebastian, Taj Mahal, Amos Garrett, Roy Rogers. Muldaur and Bonnie Raitt wax profound on the centerpiece, Mississippi Fred McDowell’s, "It’s a Blessing." Tracy Nelson is equally gutbucket deep on Bessie Smith’s heartwrencher "Far Away Blues." A real find is guitarist Ernie Hawkins, whose mentoring with Rev. Gary Davis in the ‘60s, is now revealed. "I Belong to That Band" is a tour de force both on record and in performance.