Maria Muldaur's strong debut features savvy studio vets, talented guests, strong tunes and Muldaur's best-known single, ''Midnight at the Oasis.'' A flirty invitation to forbidden pleasure, set in an Arabian Nights desert that falls somewhere between jazz and pop. A well-known music critic declared that '''Midnight At The Oasis' was probably responsible for the conception of more children than any other song of the 1970's.''
The recording appeared in 1973, during a moment of great openness in popular music. Her album became an FM staple, she found just the right balance between her commitment to the traditional material she favors and her ability to interpret it in her own quirky and original recognizable singing style.
There's not a weak song, a weak arrangement, or a weak performance anywhere on it. Muldaur has an amazing voice, a kind of ''link'' between the worlds of folk, blues and jazz. This album has elements of rock, pop, blues, folk, country, bluegrass even vaudeville and somehow, all the disparate elements blend well to make for a cohesive, remarkably unified album impossible to classify as a whole.
Among the musicians and vocalists appearing on the recording are, Dr. John, Ry Cooder, Andrew Gold, David Grisman, Chris Ethridge, Ray Brown, Richard Greene, Dave Holland, David Lindley and Bettye LaVette. The multi-talented Freebo, Bill Keith of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, solo-Beatles drummer Jim Keltner and solo-Beatles bassist Klaus Voorman, and Jazz-Guitarist Amos Garrett.
But the album's greatest moments belong to Maria alone - Her vocal gifts defy expression. After a decade of work this debut recording revealed her art as mature, sophisticated, sensual and wise. The songs and performances are sweet, poignant, salacious, intelligent and attractive. The high point may well be Wendy Waldman's ''Mad Mad Me,'' which closes the album with the most hauntingly gorgeous two minutes and fifty-three seconds ever recorded.
What Muldaur did back then and she is still doing, is recording excellent and eclectic albums, covering different music genres and displaying formidable musical knowledge - There's a huge love for music in this supremely talented artist.
''One of the half-dozen best albums of 1973.'' Rolling Stone Magazine.