Jenni Muldaur: Dearest Darlin' Live
Last night at The Living Room on New York's Lower East Side, Jenni Muldaur debuted her new record, and celebrated by playing it to a sold-out crowd that included Lou Reed and David Byrne (with whom Muldaur has been on the road for most of the year as a back-up singer), as well as friends Teddy Thompson and Joseph Arthur who joined her on the record and onstage. The band at The Living Room included luminaries like Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron's musical partner, and Lenny Pickett from the Tower of Power horns section.
Dearest Darlin' provides a vocal showcase for Muldaur's range from blues shouts to romantic purrs. The material rounds up soul and r&b mostly from the 50s and 60s (along with an original by Muldaur) without being a greatest-hits survey. The title song, a Bo Diddley chugger from 1957, leads a line-up that includes material first heard from Lee Dorsey, Big Maybelle, James Brown (an intrepid version of "Lost Someone" from 1961), an Alabama field holler recorded in 1934 by Alan Lomax, and NRBQ. Producers Don Fleming and Steve Rosenthal worked with Muldaur to find songs from the blues and soul catalogue that allowed Muldaur room to interpret, and then found a spacious sound that let the all-star band swing from intimate feeling to full-blast, horn-driven soul revue.
by Bob Moses May 19, 2009
Photo: Stephen Clemmer