Gail Muldrow offers an irresistible mixture of blues, funk, soul, r&b, rock, grunge, heavy metal ... you name it. For Gail there are no boundaries and she knows how to blend all those musical genres into one original Gail Muldrow style. Subsequently she belongs to those great Bay Area musicians who are difficult to place into one category. She is definitely a musician's musician and for those who heard her play and sing, another example for the fact that good music isn't necessarily always to be found on radio or music television. Just to change that, Gail's music deserves much more attention.
|Very early in life Gail, who is a native San Franciscan, picked up the guitar and played on Sly Stone's album "High On You" in 1975 - then known as Cousin Gale. Since that time Gail Muldrow has been an important fixture in the SF music scene. She has also become a member of the Family Stone - not in the sense that she played on any of the other Sly and the Family Stone albums during Sly's time - but she is a driving force in bringing back together what remains of the Family Stone in various combinations. She has been a member of Family Without Stone around 1989 and in 2004 she joined The Family Stone Experience aka Life: The First Family of Funk - featuring former Family Stone members Gregg Errico and Jerry Martini. The latter says that "Gail Muldrow is one of the finest singers and entertainers anywhere in the world". With that connection it is pretty obvious that Gail's guitar playing involves a lot of funk. Although she has not been a member of Sly and the Family Stone in the 70s, she has been a member of Graham Central Station then for two years and is featured on the 1977 album "Now Do U Wanta Dance". In addition Gail played with famous funk musicians like Prince and Chaka Kahn (a complete list of Gail's collaborations can be found on her MySpace page).|
Gail Muldrow and Graham Central Station in 1977
Gail with The Family Stone Experience @ Rib Fest 2004
On the other hand Gail's repertoire includes a lot of blues and she doesn't only play the guitar - she is also a terrific singer. Since 1992 she has been a member of the Johnny Otis Show and can be heard singing and playing guitar on Johnny Otis' album "R&B Dance Party" (1999) on five songs. It was Johnny Otis who gave her the nickname 'Little Bit' because of her height. Gail likes to use the nickname 'Mojo' instead. With that name and band - Gail 'Mojo' Muldrow - she backed up famous singers like Sugar Pie DeSanto - whom Otis called 'Little Miss Sugar Pie' in the 50s. By the way, Johnny Otis once discovered Esther Phillips - then known as 'Little Esther' - one of the greatest singers ever. Having said that, one has to admit that Gail belongs to this category (and I am not talking about little women!!!) as well and there is probably more blues and soul in her voice than the average blues singer has to offer.|
There is still more though because Gail also knows how to rock the house. With Quicksilver Gold - featuring yet another bunch of famous Bay Area musicians - she demonstated that she can play psychedelic rock as well. Her experience in this field comes from her playing with the likes of Merl Saunders (with whom she co-wrote the song "Melons In Season" from Saunders' 1979 album "Do I Move You"), Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band. Well, and when she is not recording with new artists like Doug Jayne or playing with one of her many bands, like Spudnig or Big Nurse, she is working solo and plays places like Peri's under a variety of names like Sista Cleen.
|In 2003 Gail finally released her debut album "Cleen Spirit". The album is truly an expression of Gail's spirit and thus the 12 tracks represent Gail's many musical talents. The album starts with the heavy metal laden "Bitch Mommy Bitch" which hits you like a truck. Next is "Bootz" and only when you hear the line "... gonna walk all over you ..." you know that Gail has just done that and you begin to catch the rhythm and spirit of the first two tracks. Well and then it gets kind of dreamy with "Your Love Wont Go" and you know that one has to love Gail's music as she is a great singer and songwriter and dares to be different. This album isn't playing safe and if one is used to one-style-only albums maybe hard to digest ("It's Hard"/"Hate Me"). On the other hand, life is an ever changing configuration of feelings and "Cleen Spirit" is full of life. Then there is the almost instrumental and funky "Whered You Get Yo Funk" which immediately wants to make you move yo body. "Ribbons and Bows" - a declaration of independence - has the smoothest rhythm ever and is possibly the best track on the album ... do I have to add more details? Please check out the album (link below) and buy it - you won't be disappointed!|
Joli Valenti and Gail Muldrow with Quicksilver Gold in 2003
Gail Muldrow in Piacenza
|After the release of her first album Gail continued touring and in 2006 she toured Italy under the wing of her Italian manager Tano Ro's Feelin' Good Productions which also includes the record label Feelin' Good Records. This label released four outstanding Gail Muldrow CDs within 2007 alone - all of them taking us to the river of Gail's never ending flow of fascinating music. These releases are a dream come true as they present the many sides of Gail Muldrow and fill a gap that could hardly be filled by Gail's debut album in 2003 alone. Plus, not to release these CDs would have been a major crime.|
The first CD released has been "It's My Life" which was recorded October 26th, 2006 in Piacenza, Italy. The setting is quite intimate and catches Gail singing and supporting herself with only her Fender Strat. The CD is well recorded and features Gail's own material like "It's Hard" and "Stranger Things", but also well know standards like "Take Me To The River" and "Not Fade Away" - 17 great tracks altogether. Gail has such a great talent to either build up tension between her singing and her guitar playing or make everything sound so sweet, i.e. it is amazing how Gail's guitar playing blends so perfectly with her vocals. You would really wish that this recording never ends but then it ends so quickly and when checking your watch you suddenly realize that one hour has already passed. Luckily things like replay buttons exist to add another one.
|The second release "Raw Live And Cool" which was actually recorded a few days earlier on October 21st, 2006 at The Sonix Music Hall in Imola might include six tracks which can also be found on "Itís My Life" but this time the treatment is totally different. Gail is supported by a backing band entitled "The Funkin' Blues Baby One", i.e. Luca Tonani on bass, Luca Zamponi on guitar and Lele Zamperini on drums. With this Italian groove machine Gail demonstrates that she also knows how to 'set the roof on fire'. Due to Gail's funk roots she sometimes even slides into harder edge territories but most of the time Gail's music is a most likable funkier version of the blues.|
Instead of the intimate setting the previous CD delivered this recording really rocks the house and it's great fun to compare how Gail handles tracks like "Not Fade Away" in different settings. So even though these two CDs contain some of the same songs - as they were recorded on the same tour - the treatment is different each time. This is also true for the third live recording which was recorded a few months later in Switzerland on June 30th, 2007.
Gail Muldrow in Imola - photo by Giovanni Santarelli
Gail Muldrow in Rapperswil-Jona
|"Live At Blues'n'Jazz Festival Rapperswil - Jona" is a wonderful live blues rock concert with touches of funk. This live album is another demonstration of Gail's outstanding artistry and it includes some tracks Gail would record on her second studio album only one month later. Gail is supported by a very good and almost new backing band - only the drummer has played with Gail on the previous CD. Especially "Shakey Ground" and killer versions of "Not Fade Away" and "Dope Smokin' Blues" display how tight the band plays together. Gail always leaves enough room for the individual band members to shine through though, i.e. Guerretti's rolling keyboards, Orsini's funky bass lines and Zamperini's driving beats. Although recorded at an open air jazz festival, the sound almost equals the one created on "Raw Live And Cool" - very satisfactory indeed as the audience response underlines.|
|One month later (July 10, 2007) Gail recorded her second studio album "Peace Of Mind". She is supported by members of the famous Ford Blues Band, i.e. Patrick Ford, Dewayne Pate and Andy Just, plus Italian guitarist Tiziano Gailli. Due to this blues heavyweights this album can really be labeled to be 100% blues. Even Gail's singing, guitar playing and songwriting sound like she has never done anything else but playing the blues. Subsequently it's much fun to listen to this album as the 10 tracks keep you grooving as long as they last - quite a change of concept if you compare this album to Gail's first studio release "Cleen Spirit" where abrupt changes of musical styles ruled. Right from the first track "You're So Fine" Andy Just displays his outstanding harmonica skills and the rest of the band do not show any flaws either. Subseqently the album sounds like one piece and really gives you peace of mind. One of the album's highlights is "Dope Smoking Blues", i.e. Gail Muldrow at her best ... actually no Jägermeister or poppin' of pills needed ;)|
Patrick Ford, Dewayne Page, Gail Muldrow,
Tiziano Galli, Tano Ro, Andy Just
Gail's latest European blues moves have been quite succesful and it looks like she has finally found a receptive audience in the European blues crowd and also her European CD and concert reviews sound very promising. Danger could be, that there will be more blues inside her music in the future than funk but on the other hand, funk artists like Rad., Maceo Parker, Tower of Power or funkrock bands like Mother's Finest do very well in Europe - especially Germany - thus there is still more funky ground for Gail to cover.
Plus, Gail is still involved in the funky thing as her Sly Stone legacy band GM and the Funk Machine demonstrates. This line-up has no release yet but some tracks are available from the accompanying website. Each track delivers a different vibe, i.e. "Mop Head" is kinda spacy, "Gotta Love Me" has a soulful chorus and "Fired" is quite funky with touches of country - quite promising indeed. You can always find new stuff on Gail's MySpace website as well and it looks like we are heading for more cool funky music soon. In the meantime make sure you order Gail's 2007 releases, catch one of her concerts in case she comes to a place near you, i.e. support real music and feel good.
|Bitch Mommy Bitch -- Bootz -- Your Love Wont Go -- It's Hard -- Hate Me -- Mojo Blues -- Whered You Get Yo Funk -- Nightmares -- Ribbons and Bows -- A Man Like You -- Stranger Thing -- Secret Love|
All songs written by Gail Muldrow, except 'Bootz' by Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra
Click on cover for extra art work
or from CDBaby:
It's My Life
(Feelin' Good Records 2007)
|Rock Me Baby -- Take Me to the River -- I Just Wanna Make Love to You -- Use Me Up -- The R Song -- When the River Come Home -- Dyin Ain't So Bad -- House Where Nobody Lives -- It's Hard -- Walkin After Midnight -- Somethins Wrong Here -- Who's Lovin You -- Not Fade Away -- Money -- Boots -- Stranger Things -- Wang Dang Doodle|
Musician: Gail Muldrow (lead vocals/electric guitar)
Recorded on 28th of October, 2006 at La Cavallerizza, Piacenza, Italy.
or from CDBaby:
&The Funkin' Blues Baby One
Raw Live And Cool
(Feelin' Good Records 2007)
|Rock Me Baby -- Shakey Ground -- Not Fade Away -- Play That Funky Music -- I'll Take You There -- Take Me To The River -- Money -- Love & Happiness -- I Just Wanna Make Love To You -- A Man Like You -- 6345789 -- Respect -- Wang Dang Doodle
Musicians: Gail Muldrow (lead vocals/lead guitar); Luca Tonani (bass); Luca Zamponi (guitar); Lele Zamperini (drums)
Recorded on 21st of October, 2006 at The Sonix Music Hall, Imola.
Live At Blues'n'Jazz Festival
Rapperswil - Jona
(Feelin' Good Records 2007)
|Got My Mind Back -- Play That Funky Music -- T For Trouble -- I've Been Loving You -- Love & Happiness -- Piece Of Mind -- Shakey Ground -- Not Fade Away -- Dope Smokin' Blues -- Never Enough -- Cross My Heart
Musician: Gail Muldrow (vocals, guitar); Giovanni Guerretti (keyboards); Piero Orsini (bass), Lele Zamperini (drums).
Recorded at Blues'n'Jazz Festival, Rapperswil - Jona.
Peace Of Mind
(Feelin' Good Records 2007)
|You're so fine -- Moving on down the line -- Along about midnight -- Still a fool -- Peace of mind -- Love sickness -- Got my mind back -- Dope smoking blues -- Never enough -- T for trouble
Musicians: Gail Muldrow (vocals/guitar); Andy Just (harmonica), Tiziano Galli (guitar); Dewayne Pate (bass); Patrick Ford (drums).
Attention: I took away the link to gailmuldrow.com because lately I got a virus warning (Trojan-Downloader.HTML.Agent.ij) - not sure what's going on there.
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