In the midst of leaving the Jim Kweskin Jug Band
and beginning the juggernaut that would be the solo career of Maria Muldaur
, the happily singing and swinging couple made several sides which made expert use of a loose-knit group of players who had grown into masters of the folk revival arts. At times the choice of material on this album is unfortunately lazy; "Havana Moon" was a song that not even Chuck Berry
himself could complete without boredom setting in, and the efforts here don't pay off much better. At the same time, the players here really don't need much more than the most basic framework from which to jump off and they are hard at it, pushing the music forward with a sense of purpose that inevitably helped it earn its hard-fought respectability. As a whole, Sweet Potatoes
is something of a masterwork, rich and revealing, possessing the contagious enthusiasm of young musicians finding a personal voice in the rich traditions of the past as well as the relaxed sophistication that develops when these players are no longer novices. The Geoff
and Maria Muldaur
combination, when it was working, was also very special, a challenging partnership that also was something of an inviting nucleus to the players with the talent to be drawn into the fold. This album contains some of the better playing of harmonica man Paul Butterfield
, removed from the hyper-drive excess of his blues bands. "Kneein' Me" and "Cordelia" are among the song highlights.