Personnel includes: Maria Muldaur, Johnny Adams, Bonnie Raitt, Mavis Staples, Charles Brown (vocals); Danny Caron, Sonny Landreth, Anthony Paule, Cranston Clements (guitar); Jim Rothermel (clarinet, alto & tenor saxophones); Marty Grebb (saxophone, piano); Steve Campos (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn); David Matthews (piano, organ); Mike Thompson (keyboards); Hutch Hutchinson, Reggie McBride (bass); Steve Potts, Lee Spath, Tony Braunagel (drums); Tracy Nelson, Jenni Muldaur, Ann Peebles, Linda Tillery, Lady Bianca, Jon Cleary (background vocals).
Producers: Maria Muldaur, John Snyder, Dennis Walker, Elaine Martone.
Compilation producers: Maria Muldaur, Elaine Martone.
Engineers: Jay Newland, Michael Bishop, Tony Daigle.
Recorded between December 1995 & December 1998.
Buyer, and especially Maria Muldaur fan, beware. Only a note in tiny print on the back cover of this disc informs you that it is not only a cobbled together selection of Muldaur's most romantic tunes, but they are only from three albums, which are, not surprisingly, ones she recorded for the Telarc label. In other words, if you already have those discs you can make a tape or burn your own CD that would be identical to this collection. Adding to the shoddiness of the package is a frustrating lack of liner notes (although specific musicians on each track are listed) and inferior graphics that look like a last minute afterthought. The expression "contract fulfilling release" quickly comes to mind. That said, if you don't own those three excellent Telarc albums and want a disc for a romantic experience, you could do worse than spending 54 minutes with Maria Muldaur sensually singing her unique "bluesiana" mix of jazz, blues, and soul. The musicianship, production, and song selection are all top-notch, and Muldaur, whose voice has grown huskier and even sexier since her '70s heyday, wraps her pipes around these tunes like a heavy fog slowly rolling in over New Orleans' Lake Ponchartrain. She effortlessly straddles jazz and blues, transforming anything she touches into a smooth, easygoing, yet sizzling slice of oozing romance. The way her voice lingers over words, adding just a trace of Southern twang as the subtle backing musicians set up a languid groove, makes the listener feel like they're sinking into their favorite easy chair. The song titles tell it all; "Soothe Me," "Fanning the Flames," and "We Can Let It Happen Tonight" set the mood without even hearing a note, and after you've played this once, you'll want to find your special someone to share it with all over again. If you own none of the trio of Maria Muldaur albums where these songs originated, this is a reasonable place to begin your collection of this classic singer, especially if you're in the mood for love. ~ Hal Horowitz