If I had to sum up Geoff Muldaur's second Hightone album "Password" in one
word, I would probably use the word "relaxing." Fortunately I get a little
bit more space than that, so I will divulge a few more details.
Incidentally, the second word I would use to describe "Password" would be
"eclectic." Muldaur runs the gamut from country blues to folk to gospel and
beyond, with varying degrees of success.
I am most partial to Muldaur's traditional blues and gospel recordings.
Muldaur's rendition of Charlie Patton's "Some of These Days (I'll Be Gone)",
with a rather full band featuring two violins, a viola, and an even an
accordion, is one of the album's more impressive tracks. Muldaur only
contributes vocals on that song, as is also the case on his adaptation of
Blind Willie Johnson's "Trouble Soon Be Over." Without a doubt the stand-up
track on "Password" is a sequel to a number Muldaur recorded on his first
Hightone CD, "Got to Find Blind Lemon, Part One." Part Two continues this
autobiographical account of Muldaur's search for grave of the great
itinerant bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson. "He only asked one favor,"
Muldaur sings, "please see that my grave is kept clean." This time, unlike
part one, he is met with success. On the gospel end of the spectrum, the
old hymn "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere" excels in Muldaur's hands, and the
serene "Wait 'Til I Put on My Robe" is catchy as all get out. The backup
vocals blend beautifully with Muldaur's voice.
So relaxing is "Password" that Muldaur even included a lullaby. "Prairie
Lullaby" is a song the Geoff himself claims he has sung for years to put his
daughters to sleep. The hokey "Mary of the Wild Moors" is the album's
weakest track, although "At the Christmas Ball" gives it a run for its
money. Perhaps this blues fan just can't take it when one strays THAT far
from the blues idiom. But if it's variety you're looking for, then Muldaur
Muldaur's intimate, personal vocals are the strength of the album, with his
precise acoustic guitar playing accompanying nicely. Many of the album's
songs feature strong arrangements with a variety of instruments. It is a
treat to still have a few performers (also see Keb' Mo' and Corey Harris)
singing and playing the older style of blues as Muldaur does on "Password."
This review is copyright © 2001 by Preston Ackerman, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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