Review: Geoff Muldaur at Worthenbury Village Hall – 28 April 2007

Posted on: Friday, May 4, 2007

Geoff Muldaur dropped out of performing in the early 1980s and re-emerged in the late 1990s. In the 1960s and ‘70s he was a founder member of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and Paul Butterfield’s Better Days. He also collaborated with then-wife, Maria, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Von Schmidt and Jerry Garcia.

His appearance at Worthenbury Village Hall was eagerly awaited and greeted with a full house. Such is the extent of his fascinating reminiscences that his two sets comprised a total of only fifteen numbers. He began with a couple of bluesy songs, the second incorporating the lyrics of a Tennessee Williams poem. He proceeded with a jazzy number and one from his jug band days before delivering his own “Got To Find Blind Lemon”, a splendid tribute to Blind Lemon Jefferson. To complete the first set, a fine version of “Fishing Blues” was followed by “The Wild Ox Moan”.

He began the second set with “Your Picture’s Fading”, a gloomy, slow shuffle, about which he posed the tongue-in-cheek question: did that cheer you up? Blind Willy Johnson’s “Trouble Soon be Over” gave way to a Sleepy John Estes number and two by Bobby Charles – “Tennessee Blues” and “Small Town Talk”. The set was completed with a number that was beautifully delivered in the style of Mississippi John Hurt and a New Orleans marching tune, which featured some wonderful guitar work. The adaptation of another Tennessee Williams poem provided the encore.

The essence of a Geoff Muldaur gig is the relaxed atmosphere that he engenders with his laid-back anecdotes between the songs. His stories are full of interesting insight and imbued with impeccable comic timing. His guitar playing is impressive and his vocals are clear and multi-dimensional. A minor criticism might be levelled at the slight drop in impetus of the second set but, overall, his range of talents provided a delightful performance that is undoubtedly in the premier division of the genre.

Lionel Ross

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More photos of Geoff Muldaur playing live at Worthenbury at the bluesinthenorthwest.com photo archive.

bluesinthenorthwest.com photos

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