Midnight At The Oasis

Album: Maria Muldaur (1973)
Charted: 21 6
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  • This song was written by David Nichtern, a composer who also became a renown teacher of Shambhala Buddhism. He told us the story of this song, which is one of the more sensual tunes you will come across. Said Nichtern: "I wrote the song before I started working with Maria... the details are a little bit intimate, but let's just say there was a girl, a waterbed, feta cheese and grape leaves, and a Martin 000-18 near by.

    I actually produced the demo (in Woodstock) that got Maria her Warner Bros individual artist deal, so I was on the map already with them to that extent. On that demo was a song I wrote called 'I Never Did Sing You a Lovesong' which made it onto the album but was re-recorded. Also we demoed a track that Wendy Waldman wrote called 'Mad Mad Me (I Love You)' which made it onto the album as it was so I got producer credit for that track.

    My memory is that I came out to LA and got to play rhythm guitar on several tracks. From there I got more and more involved with the record. At a rehearsal, I played 'Midnight at the Oasis' for Lenny Waronker and he liked it and wanted to include it on the record.

    We recorded it with some great musicians - Jim Gordon on drums (who later went crazy and killed his own mother and went to prison for life I think). Freebo played bass, Mark Jordan on piano and me on acoustic guitar. Later, Famous Amos Garrett added that amazing electric guitar part and solo, which in some circles is as famous as the song itself.

    Warner's released the album and then Midnight as the first single... they hung in there with it for something like nine months until it took off.... that might not happen today... the rest is herstory as they say..."
  • Maria Muldaur is an Italian singer who was born Maria D'Amato. Muldaur is to white female pop singers what Anita O'Day is to white female jazz singers: way hipper than the herd. She recorded in the '60s with the Even Dozen and Jim Kweskin jug bands and with her then-husband, Geoff Muldaur, before going out on her own with this 1973 recording.

    Sidemen include Jim Dickinson, Spooner Oldham, Jim Keltner, Mac Rebennack, Ray Brown, and Dave Holland. Among the tunes on her self-titled album are Jimmie Rodgers' "Any Old Time," Dolly Parton's "My Tennessee Mountain Home," and the album's hit, "Midnight At The Oasis." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Paul - Detroit, MI
  • In our Maria Muldaur interview, she explained: I was making my first solo album for Warner Brothers in 1973, and I had just recently separated from my then-husband, Geoff Muldaur, who not only was my partner, but also my musical partner, and sort of the mastermind of, musically, whatever we did together. So being a solo artist was completely strange and alien and rather scary territory for me.

    And so I was out in California finding myself in the studio with all the top guns: Dr. John, Ry Cooder, David Lindley; I mean, all the fabulous guys that played on my first album. And I had been working with a young guitarist named David Nichtern when I first separated from Geoffrey. He was very encouraging and told me, 'You can do this.' I was just sobbing and I was a mess. We had a little talk and he would say, 'Look, people still know you from the Jug Band, and if I can get work in these little coffee houses, you can, too.' And so we put together a few tunes, and he got us some gigs. This was real low-profile stuff. I'd be crying all the way up to the gig, and he'd say, 'Okay, dry your eyes and wash your face. We're on in half an hour.' And he was just a very supportive little brother to me.

    And so when I found myself out in California doing this solo album, I was going to do one of his songs. He's a very lovely songwriter and he'd written this beautiful song called 'I Never Did Sing You a Lovesong.' Very lyrical little waltz-y, kind of a country waltz kind of thing. And he knew I had all these really fabulous musicians at the studio. But he came out on his own dime, because he just felt, well, maybe they'll let him play rhythm guitar on his own tune or something. So he came on out in his little VW bug and slept on a mattress on my living room floor in the Hollywood Hills and came to the studio, was observing everything, and did get to play on his own song.

    And then we were almost finished recording, the producer came in the studio and said, 'You know, I've been listening to the rough mixes, and I think we're in pretty good shape.' He said, 'You know, we've got some up tempo stuff and we've got some nice ballads. I think if we had one more medium tempo song, then the album would be nicely balanced out, we'd be in good shape. Does anything come to mind?'

    So David was standing right there, and just off the top of my head, kind of as a gesture of gratitude to him because he had been so supportive to me, kind of holding my hand through all of this, which was very overwhelming, you know, I'd never been in that position before of being a solo artist and trying to make my way through an album that was all about me. And I said, 'Well, David has this song. It's a funny little song, really, but it is medium tempo.' I said, 'David, play them 'Midnight at the Oasis' and see what you think.' Which I'd heard before and I thought it was just a goofy little song; I didn't think much of it one way or the other. So he whipped out his guitar and started to play it on the guitar, and I sang it. And the producer cocked his head, he said, 'Oh, that's cute, okay, wanna do that one?' So as a gesture to David, I said, 'Yeah, let's do that one. I have no other bright ideas.' And we called in some great studio players and we cut it. And the rest is history."
  • A hit song can become a burden to a singer if she is sick of the song yet still expected to perform it night after night. So how does Muldaur feel about constantly performing this song? She told us: "I still do enjoy singing it. And you know why? Because number one, it was a very hip-ly written song. A lot of the jazz artists have covered it because it's very well constructed. Imagine my plight if my big hit had been 'Wild Thing' by the Troggs, a really dumb three-chord song. But it's a song that's so well constructed that an artist can improvise on it night after night. So that's reason number one, it's a cool song.

    Reason number two is I love the look of the faces of the audience when the band strikes that number up, when the band goes into the intro of that number. Because apparently, from all the stories that have been told to me when I meet my fans after the show to sign my CD, that song was the soundtrack to many a love-and-lust affair, and if I had been writing down all the stories of what people tell me they were doing or were inspired to do because of that song, or as that song was playing, I could have written quite the little x-rated book. So when I start that song, people's faces light up and I see very happy, maybe slightly x-rated memories flitting across their faces. And so that's worth more than any Grammy nomination or award - to hear first hand from your fans, from hundreds and hundreds of fans, how a piece of music I didn't even write, but that I selected and recorded and just put out there in the airwaves, just had such a happy impact on people's lives. What a gift is that?"
  • In 1994, a version by Brand New Heavies featuring N'Dea Davenport went to #13 in the UK.

Comments: 27

  • Sacalait from South LouisianaAh man... "Midnight at the Oasis" could well be in my top 10 all-time fave songs. I was living in Colorado then and maybe that's part of it but it was a magical time and that song always brings me back there. Nice. Glad you cut it girl!
  • Moanin' Lisa from Chillicothe Mo.One of my favorite songs of all time. It just reeks lust. I think those years were when I got my nickname Moanin' Lisa. LOL! Her voice & the instrumentation were perfect. Every time I hear it on the radio these days I stop and listen-----and reminisce about old loves. Oooooooo.......!!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny'Send your camel to bed'
    On February 23rd 1974, Maria Muldaur performed "Midnight at the Oasis" on the syndicated TV program 'Don Kirshner's Rock Concert'...
    At the time the song was at #97 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, it was also in its first week on the chart; and fourteen weeks later on May 26th, 1974 it would peak at #6 {for 1 week} and spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 {24 weeks}...
    On the same 'Rock Concert' show she also performed her only other Top 100 record, "I'm A Woman", it reached #12 {for 2 weeks} exactly one year later on February 23rd, 1975...
    Ms. Muldaur, born Maria Grazia Rosa Domenica D'Amato, will celebrate her 72nd birthday come this September 12th {2015}.
  • Bruce from San Jose, CaOh what fond memories this song evokes every time I hear it! I love the seduction of the song, the luscious and rich guitar work (I don't play the guitar but I "air guitar" right along with it as I listen - I'm such a dork! LOL)...and it is a romantic song in the "yearning-est" way... One could just change a few words and you could sing this as a wooing song to a lady-love, too....Ummm-mmmm.
  • Meocyber from Alma, Co Definitely, one of my top 1970's lust songs. Along with most any Linda Ronstadt or Donna Summer songs then. It has a very cool atmosphere of sensuality in an exotic desert setting. Her voice and lyrics = perfection.
  • Cary from Raeford, NcPat in Albuquerque. There was a hit single from 'Waitress In A Donut Shop.' "I'm A Woman" went to #12 on Hot 100, no small feat. You never hear it anymore, but I remember it well. Maria Muldaur is NOT a one-hit wonder. She is a two-hit wonder.
  • Joni from Louisville, Kythis is a beautiful song but was quite risque back then. I was working a summer job at a pickle factory at $2.10/hr and would get in my parents '65 Mustang on I-65 at 2am after work with windows down playing this song. Wow, what a feeling!
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxHow can anyone sing "Send your camel to bed" with a straight face? I certainly hope the singer in question was more appealing than one of those foul creatures.
  • Doug from South Guildford, Wa, AustraliaLove it. I saw Maria M. at Ronnie Scott's(?) jazz club in London in about 1984. As I recall she regretted being widely known only for this song. I found she is in fact a great jazz singer & bought her tape which I still have somewhere - must find out what she's released on CD. Check the Brand New heavies cover too. Well spotted that man - no cactus in Arabia.
  • Brian from Los Angeles, CaI love this song, freebo's bass playing is smooth and that guitar solo is great, such amazing chord changes.. Has anyone here heard any of Freebo's latest music, its really great americana, folk, blues, stuff... I found it recently while looking up bonnie raitt. check his website freebomusic.com, i feel like a publist. I just want more people to like good music instead of this pop crap..
  • Pat from Big Beach, NsGuitar on "Midnight" was by the seminal Amos Garrett, who also worked with Doug Sahm, Gene Taylor, Geoff Muldaur, Paul Butterfield, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Elvin Bishop, Todd Rundgren, and Bonny Raitt, just to name a few.

  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, Calong live the genius of arranger Nick DeCaro, who worked a bit of his magic here on this tune!
    RIP, Nick
  • Rodney from Chicago, IlMidnight at the oasis is in a class by itself! The style alone treaded on new turf. That guitarist did an amazing solo!! I'm navigating this site trying to fing the name of the guitarist.
  • Garry from Gold Coast, AustraliaThe song was written by David NICHTER. The cheeky double entendres of the "dirty flirty" lyrics are great, although I wonder how many people spot the glaring mistake in them.

    The lyrics are all about oases, dunes, camels and sultans- which all relate to the Arabian desert. Then there's the chorus refering to cactus, which are North American.

  • Fred from Laurel, MdPat/Albuquerque--Not so! There was a single from "Waitress in a Donut Shop," namely, "Gringo en Mexico," penned by Wendy Waldman, although I don't think it sold many copies. I (or one of my sisters) used to have the 45 when we lived back home, but I haven't seen it in decades. It may be my favorite song of hers. It pours forth even more of the joy of Wendy's composition than Wendy's own recording, which itself is no slouch, either, let me tell you! The Wiki article on Maria shows an album about every other year from back then until now, so she certainly hasn't slacked off. Unfortunately, that article doesn't list her singles. Maybe someone here with enough knowledge can add to that Wiki article? And although I have the words down for the English portion of the lyrics, I haven't a clue what the part in Spanish is saying, and I can't find the song's lyrics on any other lyrics site, or by Googling. Can anyone get those lyrics up here, complete with the Spanish?
  • Ken from Louisville, KyMuldhaur wasn't exactly a one hit wonder. She had minor hits after this with the songs "I'm A Woman" and "If You Feel My Leg".
  • Don from Indianapolis, InHey I agree with you Guy in Woodinville, WA. Today's artists just can't duplicate this "subtle", erotic way of singing, and make is sound so good! And Maria's voice just sends it over the top! Just one of my "guilty listening pleasures" from my Senior Year in '74.
  • Mitch from Miami Beach, FlI've seen her perofrm with the Jerry Garcia Band years ago. Great talent!
  • N from Staten Island, NyThis song was a hit in the spring/summer of 1974, during my senior year of H.S. It brings back memories of that lazy last semester before college and adulthood.
  • Mike from Verona, VaIn May of 1974 I bought a brand new 1974 Dodge Charger. Upon leaving the dealer's lot, I turned on the AM radio and what song was on? "Midnight At The Oasis" by Maria Muldaur. Now every time I hear that song, I think of that car and that moment. Priceless!
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaThis song has some of the cleverest double-entendre sexually-charged lyrics ever written! Plus she completely captures it all in a delightful flirty mood. As Leya Qwest sez, it's an "exquisite gem" of a song.

    Maria did indeed sing with Dylan and Sebastion in Greenwich Village in the 60s--she's been around.
  • Michelle from Wilmington, DeThis is such a grrrrrrrrrrrrreat song I love it! It's a story telling song an art that seems lost in today's music!
  • Kathleen from Palm Springs, CaWe are attending a theme party this June and I was delighted to hear it will be "Midnight at the Oasis" one of my favorite songs and singers(Maria Muldaur) I am hinking od ideas of what to wear...
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI didn't know Maria Muldaur did this song. She has a beautiful voice.
  • Leya Qwest from Anchorage, AkThis one hit wonder is forever an exquisite gem from the realm of mystery and magic that was the seventies. Ha! Ha! As I hear it, Maria performed during the early 1960s in Greenwich Village with Bob Dylan and John Sebastian. Who knew?
  • Neil from Middlesbrough, United StatesThe Brand New Heavies - Midnight At The Oasis
    this is one of the best cover version you could get.
    this version i think is a better version but it might be it got a newer sound to it.
  • Pat from Albuquerque, NmThere were a lot of young guys (including me) in love with Maria's voice and personality when this song came out. She also put out another album, "Waitress in a Donut Shop," that was as good as or better than the album that "Midnight" was on, but no single came out of it. Too bad--she's (still) a great singer.
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