Geoff Muldaur

Saturday, Oct. 6; Focal Point

Oct 3, 2001 at 4:00 am
Apparently, Geoff Muldaur has decided he wants to be remembered as more than just another survivor of the '60s folk-music scene. After performing and recording as a solo artist and with the likes of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, ex-wife Maria Muldaur, Paul Butterfield's Better Days band and guitarist Amos Garrett from 1963 to 1980, Muldaur decided to take a two-decade hiatus from performing. Instead, he focused on producing recordings for other musicians and composing music for film and television.Now Muldaur has returned to what he does best: reworking great American blues, folk and gospel tunes with his distinctive, vibrato-tinged vocals. Muldaur has released two fine records in recent years, following up his excellent 1998 Hightone CD, The Secret Handshake, with last year's equally fine Password. Backed on these recordings by an eclectic mix of musicians ranging from old folkie friends Richard Greene and John Sebastian to contemporaries such as Dave Alvin, David Lindsey, Van Dyke Parks and Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Muldaur crafts a sound that's uniquely his own. On The Secret Handshake, he blends a version of the old blues tune "Chevrolet" with avant-garde jazz pianist Don Pullen's "Big Alice," linking them with an irresistible, centuries-old "hambone" rhythm. That's just one example of Muldaur's ability to put a new spin on old songs while still remaining true to his musical roots.