Don’t You Feel My Legs: The Naughty Bawdy Blues Of Blue Lu Barker
Lost Music Company
Review by David Bowling
Anyone who could survive half-a-decade or so as a female member of the Jim Kweskin Jug band deserves a half-century career.
Maria Muldaur began her career during the fold revival of the 1960’s, spent some time as a backing vocalist for the Grateful Dead, produced the seminal pop hit “Midnight At The Oasis,” and has released recorded pop, blues, and jazz music for the last four plus decades. Her latest release, Don’t You Feel My Legs: The Naughty Bawdy Blues Of Blue Lu Barker, is a fun-filled blues romp with a little jazz thrown in for good measure.
Blu Lu Barker, 1913-1998, was a blues singer who reached her commercial peak during the late 1930’s and 1940’s, but performed regularly into the 1990’s. She had a sultry voice and like many of the early female blues singers got by on guile, sass, and sexual innuendo. She may be a somewhat obscure singer today but she is a good choice by Muldaur as their approach to music match well.
While Muldaur sings several of Barker’s most famous songs; for the most part she takes material and interprets it according to Barker’s style, but from a modern perspective. Above all, Muldaur is able to capture the fun of the music.
“Don’t You Feel My Leg” was Barker’s signature song and Muldaur cut a version of it in 1973 but it was considered to risqué for radio at the time. Today it is mild but fits Muldaur perfectly as a light-hearted blues piece. “Loan Me Your Husband” is another bawdy Barker song that succumbs to Muldaur’s light touch. Barker’s “A Little Bird Told Me’ crosses over into jazz territory.
The other tracks run the gamut from gritty to humorous to boisterous to lewd at times, which is Muldaur’s career in microcosm. “Nix On Those Lush Heads,” “Bow Legged Daddy,” “Hard Andy,” “Georgia Grind,” and the metaphor laden “Trombone Man Blues” are a trip through the tough female blues of a by-gone era.
The career of Maria Muldaur has taken a number of career turns but lately she has settled into a blues style. While her latest release may approach the blues from a certain direction; it remains true to the genre.
Maria Muldaur has created another interesting and ultimately enjoyable album of music. Don’t You Feel My Legs: The Naughty Bawdy Blues Of Blu Lou Barker is music for the mind and bordello.