Maria Muldaur Yes We Can!

Despite her convincing foray into blues music, Maria has never ventured far from the Earth Mother persona cultivated years ago with then-husband Geoff and their combined jug band roots. Therefore, this "plea for peace” is a natural fit for her. And far from hitching a ride on the Obama catchphrase, "Yes We Can” refers to words first penned by Allen Toussaint, popularized by the then largely unheralded Pointer Sisters in ’73. This track sets the pace as other chestnuts fall under Muldaur’s spell, assisted by her Women’s Voices For Peace Choir and a host of folk royalty: Odetta, Bonnie Raitt, Phoebe Snow, Joan Baez. From the familiar strains of Marvin Gaye’s "Inner City Blues” to Dylan’s "John Brown” and a dramatically reworked version of Norman Whitfield’s "War” to Timmy Thomas’ "Why Can’t We Live Together,” Maria has never sounded funkier. She is ably supported by a skin-tight band known as the Free Radicals (notably guitarist Shane Theriot and keyboardist David Torkanowsky), and clearly recharged by her mission to let music do its part to make the world a better place. An anti-war statement, it takes full musical advantage of gospel, R&B and a collection of friends and family who inject each arrangement with surprising levels of show-stopping soul. Yes we can, and they did. (Telarc)