July 17, 2014
SFJAZZ Center, Miner Auditorium
Hometown favorite Maria Muldaur and award-winning singer-songwriter Eric Bibb offered fans a full evening of blues, folk, and gospel as part of the Great America Songbook Series at the SFJAZZ Center.
Eric Bibb opened the sold-out show, accompanied by extremely talented Michael Jerome Brown on acoustic slide and lead guitar. Bibb’s four-decade career and discography incorporates elements of American folk, African, Celtic, and other genres. There was also a strong dose of gospel throughout his set, such as a cover of Reverend Gary Davis’ “I Heard the Angels Singing,” and Lightning Hopkins’ spiritual “The Needed Time.”
Bibb explained that many of the songs he played were popular on both sides of the tracks, “No matter what your persuasion was hue-wise… Songs don’t need passports. They just go where they feel good.”
Bibb and Brown concluded their 10-song set to a standing ovation, and returned later in the show to play with Muldaur and company.
Maria Muldaur received a warm San Francisco welcome, and kept the blues and gospel theme going, starting with Elvin Bishop’s “I’ll Be Glad When I Get My Groove Back Again.” Muldaur has never lost her groove over the years and sounded wonderful with her funky Red Hot Bluesiana Band (Chris Burns, keyboards, Craig Caffall, guitar, and Ronnie Smith, drums).
Admitting it was to hard to believe that it’s been 40 years and 40 albums since “Midnight at the Oasis” was released, Muldaur said, “Funny how time flies when you’re having fun.” She also spoke about her career before the 1974 mega-hit, when she performed with the Even Dozen Jug Band in 1963, and how she reprised that sound on her 2009 record, Garden of Joy (Stony Plain) with friends David Grisman, Taj Mahal, and another local fav, Dan Hicks. Muldaur then offered “They Call That Religion” from that release.
Probably the peak of the evening was “Please Send Me Someone to Love,” by the late great Percy Mayfield, and a wonderful opportunity to enjoy Muldaur’s gutsy vocals without the band backing her.
Bibb and Brown returned to the stage and joined Maria and her trio for three final numbers. By the time they hit “The Power of Music,” the crowd was more than ready to cut loose and start dancing. Some continued to sing as they left the auditorium.
For more info on Maria Muldaur, visit: http://www.mariamuldaur.com