Picks and Pans Review: Sweet and Slow

updated 01/09/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/09/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

Maria Muldaur

Muldaur's career has hardly soared since her 1974 hit Midnight at the Oasis, but she is still willing to take chances. Some of the risk-taking on this, her first pop album in a while, is productive; some is painful. On one side, she is backed by the neo-barrelhouse piano of pal Mac Rebennack—Dr. John. The tunes include such standbys as Sweet and Slow and the charming Fanny Brice favorite, Cooking Breakfast for the One I Love. There's also an effective new song by George Clinton and Richard Reicheg, Blues for Hoagy (Laid Back Blues). On those tracks, Muldaur sounds relaxed, and she creates a spirited blend of past and present. On the LP's other side, she is backed by the cooler jazz sounds of pianist Kenny Barron, which don't suit her from-the-gut style. Her sour version of Duke Ellington's Prelude to a Kiss borders on the excruciating. The rest of the Barron-backed tracks aren't much better. Rarely has a record been so clearly half successful.

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