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One Hit Wonders - MARIA MULDAUR (1974) (Edited 07/08/13 10:44PM by )
One Hit Wonders - MARIA MULDAUR (1974) <span style="font-size:12px;">(Edited 07/08/13 10:44PM by )</span> Photo


MUSIC VIDEO/SONG

"Midnight at the Oasis" by Maria Muldaur - 

This song was written by David Nichtern, a composer who also became a renown teacher of Shambhala Buddhism. He told us the story of this song, which is one of the more sensual tunes you will come across. Said Nichtern: "I wrote the song before I started working with Maria... the details are a little bit intimate, but let's just say there was a girl, a waterbed, feta cheese and grape leaves, and a Martin 000-18 near by.
 
I actually produced the demo (in Woodstock) that got Maria her Warner Bros individual artist deal, so I was on the map already with them to that extent. On that demo was a song I wrote called 'I Never Did Sing You a Lovesong' which made it onto the album but was re-recorded. Also we demoed a track that Wendy Waldman wrote called 'Mad Mad Me (I Love You)' which made it onto the album as it was so I got producer credit for that track.
 
My memory is that I came out to LA and got to play rhythm guitar on several tracks. From there I got more and more involved with the record. At a rehearsal, I played 'Midnight at the Oasis' for Lenny Waronker and he liked it and wanted to include it on the record.
 
We recorded it with some great musicians - Jim Gordon on drums (who later went crazy and killed his own mother and went to prison for life I think). Freebo played bass, Mark Jordan on piano and me on acoustic guitar. Later, Famous Amos Garrett added that amazing electric guitar part and solo, which in some circles is as famous as the song itself.
 
Warner's released the album and then Midnight as the first single... they hung in there with it for something like 9 months until it took off.... that might not happen today... the rest is herstory as they say..."
 
Maria Muldaur is an Italian singer who was born Maria D'Amato. Muldaur is to white female pop singers what Anita O'Day is to white female jazz singers - way hipper than the herd. She recorded in the '60s with the Even Dozen and Jim Kweskin jug bands and her then-husband, Geoff Muldaur, before going out on her own with this 1973 recording. Sidemen include Jim Dickinson, Spooner Oldham, Jim Keltner, Mac Rebennack, Ray Brown, and Dave Holland. Among the tunes on her self-titled album are Jimmie Rodgers' "Any Old Time," Dolly Parton's "My Tennessee Mountain Home," and the album's hit, "Midnight At The Oasis." (thanks, Paul - Detroit, MI)
 
In our Maria Muldaur interview, she explained: I was making my first solo album for Warner Brothers in 1973, and I had just recently separated from my then-husband, Geoff Muldaur, who not only was my partner, but also my musical partner, and sort of the mastermind of, musically, whatever we did together. So being a solo artist was completely strange and alien and rather scary territory for me.
 
And so I was out in California finding myself in the studio with all the top guns: Dr. John, Ry Cooder, David Lindley; I mean, all the fabulous guys that played on my first album. And I had been working with a young guitarist named David Nichtern when I first separated from Geoffrey. He was very encouraging and told me, 'You can do this.' I was just sobbing and I was a mess. We had a little talk and he would say, 'Look, people still know you from the Jug Band, and if I can get work in these little coffee houses, you can, too.' And so we put together a few tunes, and he got us some gigs. This was real low profile stuff. I'd be crying all the way up to the gig, and he'd say, 'Okay, dry your eyes and wash your face. We're on in half an hour.' And he was just a very supportive little brother to me.
 
And so when I found myself out in California doing this solo album, I was going to do one of his songs. He's a very lovely songwriter and he'd written this beautiful song called 'I Never Did Sing You a Lovesong.' Very lyrical little waltz-y, kind of a country waltz kind of thing. And he knew I had all these really fabulous musicians at the studio. But he came out on his own dime, because he just felt, well, maybe they'll let him play rhythm guitar on his own tune or something. So he came on out in his little VW bug and slept on a mattress on my living room floor in the Hollywood Hills and came to the studio, was observing everything, and did get to play on his own song.
 
And then we were almost finished recording, the producer came in the studio and said, 'You know, I've been listening to the rough mixes, and I think we're in pretty good shape.' He said, 'You know, we've got some up tempo stuff and we've got some nice ballads. I think if we had one more medium tempo song, then the album would be nicely balanced out, we'd be in good shape. Does anything come to mind?'
 
So David was standing right there, and just off the top of my head, kind of as a gesture of gratitude to him because he had been so supportive to me, kind of holding my hand through all of this, which was very overwhelming, you know, I'd never been in that position before of being a solo artist and trying to make my way through an album that was all about me. And I said, 'Well, David has this song. It's a funny little song, really, but it is medium tempo.' I said, 'David, play them 'Midnight at the Oasis' and see what you think.' Which I'd heard before and I thought it was just a goofy little song; I didn't think much of it one way or the other. So he whipped out his guitar and started to play it on the guitar, and I sang it. And the producer cocked his head, he said, 'Oh, that's cute, okay, wanna do that one?' So as a gesture to David, I said, 'Yeah, let's do that one. I have no other bright ideas.' And we called in some great studio players and we cut it. And the rest is history."
 
A hit song can become a burden to a singer if she is sick of the song yet still expected to perform it night after night. So how does Muldaur feel about constantly performing this song? She told us: "I still do enjoy singing it. And you know why? Because number one, it was a very hip-ly written song. A lot of the jazz artists have covered it because it's very well constructed. Imagine my plight if my big hit had been 'Wild Thing' by the Troggs, a really dumb three-chord song. But it's a song that's so well constructed that an artist can improvise on it night after night. So that's reason number one, it's a cool song.
 
Reason number two is I love the look of the faces of the audience when the band strikes that number up, when the band goes into the intro of that number. Because apparently, from all the stories that have been told to me when I meet my fans after the show to sign my CD, that song was the soundtrack to many a love-and-lust affair, and if I had been writing down all the stories of what people tell me they were doing or were inspired to do because of that song, or as that song was playing, I could have written quite the little x-rated book. So when I start that song, people's faces light up and I see very happy, maybe slightly x-rated memories flitting across their faces. And so that's worth more than any Grammy nomination or award - to hear first hand from your fans, from hundreds and hundreds of fans, how a piece of music I didn't even write, but that I selected and recorded and just put out there in the airwaves, just had such a happy impact on people's lives. What a gift is that?"

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5784

Billboard Top 10 Songs of 1974 - Year End Charts

1 Barbra Streisand The Way We Were
2 Terry Jacks Seasons In The Sun
3 Love Unlimited Orchestra Love's Theme
4 Redbone Come And Get Your Love
5 Jackson 5 Dancing Machine
6 Grand Funk Railroad The Loco-Motion
7 MFSB TSOP
8 Ray Stevens The Streak
9 Elton John Bennie And The Jets
10 Mac Davis One Hell Of A Woman

13 Maria Muldaur Midnight At The Oasis

| Closed on 08/07/13 at 05:00PM
FanIQ Pts? No | Locker Room, Music | Multiple Choice Opinion Poll
7 Fans 
14%a. 10 (Great Song)
14%b. 7-9 (Good Song)
14%c. 5-6 (Ok Song)
14%d. Who? What? Huh?
43%e. How in the hell did this make it on the radio?

  
7 Comments | Sorted by Most Recent First | Red = You Disagreed
Vote for your favorite comments. Fans decide the Top Comment (3+ votes) and also hide poor quality comments (4+ votes).
#1 | 382 days ago
Nick__ (+)

yikes  indecision    not a good song!
How in the hell did this make it on the radio?  
#2 | 382 days ago

If she looks anything close to that now, I am sure her song would be okay to listen to.cheeky
Who? What? Huh?  
#3 | 382 days ago

Who? What? Huh?  
#4 | 382 days ago

great song for the era it was made in- just found out this song wasnt made by who I thought it- always thought Minnie made this song
#5 | 382 days ago
Nick__ (+)

alainpeartree wrote:
great song for the era it was made in- just found out this song wasnt made by who I thought it- always thought Minnie made this song
I remember this song when I was a really young dude and I think I liked it for a minute?

Now that I am older and I have established my musical forte, when I listen to this, it can only be for 10 seconds (and that was even pushing it)........yeah, this song was not that good.
How in the hell did this make it on the radio?  
#6 | 382 days ago

Nick__ wrote:
I remember this song when I was a really young dude and I think I liked it for a minute?

Now that I am older and I have established my musical forte, when I listen to this, it can only be for 10 seconds (and that was even pushing it)........yeah, this song was not that good.
when this song came out i was on my way too early doing grown things and with grown people at the wrong times
#7 | 381 days ago

I kinda liked it...my son's metal band was going to do a cover, but they couldn't make it work..
10 (Great Song)  

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