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Albums by Geoff & Maria Muldaur and The Lyman Family Getting First Time CD Releases

This spring, Omnivore Recordings will release three out-of-print titles from the jug-band sector of the folk boom: two by the husband and wife duo of Geoff and Maria Muldaur, 1968’s LP Pottery Pie and 1972 follow-up Sweet Potatoes; and American Avatar: Love Comes Rolling Down album from the Lyman Family with Lisa Kindred, originally released on Reprise Records in 1969. None of the three titles has been released in the U.S. on CD until now.

In the early ’60s, Maria Muldaur could be found performing in the Village in NYC, playing alongside regulars like Bob Dylan, Stefan Grossman, David Grisman, and many others. Geoff Muldaur was a founding member of Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band, which Maria later joined. After the Kweskin Jug Band broke up the Muldaurs released two albums together.

Pottery Pie was produced in 1968 by the magical team of Joe Boyd, producer, and John Wood, engineer. Already veterans of albums by Fairport Convention and Incredible String Band, and heading toward work with Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, and Richard & Linda Thompson, they were a perfect fit for the Muldaurs’ first effort together. The album finds the pair making some folk and blues classics their very own and includes Geoff’s celebrated version of the standard “Brazil,” which became the opening theme for Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film Brazil.

Sweet Potatoes showed up four years later. Paul Butterfield, Amos Garrett, John Kahn, Bill Keith and Billy Mundi all turned up to lend musical hands, and the album sported cover art by Eric Von Schmidt. Sweet Potatoes was unfortunately the last album by Geoff and Maria together, but each went on to great success and their careers continue to this day. 
Both albums will be available on CD through Omnivore Recordings on March 30, 2018. Spread over the two reissues is a new, 7,000-word interview with Geoff and Maria — their first shared interview, and their first time discussing these recordings, since they split up in 1972.

American Avatar is primarily a blues covers album, with contributions from members of Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band including Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, and Lyman himself. After many years out of print, Omnivore Recordings will reissue this influential release on March 23, 2018.

Mel Lyman (1938-78), active in the New York and Boston folk scenes of the early ’60s, founded the Lyman Family, also known as the Fort Hill Community, in a Boston neighborhood in 1966. He co-founded, and came to dominate, the short-lived but respected underground paper the Avatar (1967-68). Rock scribe Paul Williams, of Crawdaddy magazine, lived with them for a time. In his writings for the Avatar … Lyman claimed that music was a gift from God that had to be preserved and nurtured.” By 1970 his controversial “family” was about 100 people strong and is an ongoing, if much smaller, concern to this very day. 

Featured on the album are the talents of Bruce Langhorne (known for his work with Richard & Mimi Farina, Bob Dylan, and other notable artists of the era) and Terry Bernhard (who would appear on a later Kweskin album called Side By Side). 

In a conversation printed in Avatar in 1968 and quoted in the reissue’s liner notes, Lyman spoke of his passion for music: “Sound is the closest form to the essence, to Truth, to spirit. Sound is the first veil, the first form around spirit. That’s why music is the highest art, if you can truly feel the highest music then you are as close to the Truth as you can get without actually becoming the Truth itself. I told you that before, remember
I used to say that sound created sight.” 

Nearly 50 years after its debut, American Avatar: Love Comes Rolling Down enters the digital era for a new generation of music listeners to discover. 

Geoff & Maria Muldaur: Pottery Pie
  • Catch It
  • I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
  • New Orleans Hopscop Blues
  • Trials, Troubles, Tribulations
  • Prairie Lullabye
  • Guide Me, O Great Jehovah
  • Me And My Chauffeur Blues
  • Brazil
  • Georgia On My Mind
  • Death Letter Blues 
Geoff & Maria Muldaur: Sweet Potatoes
  • Blue Railroad Train
  • Havana Moon
  • Lazybones
  • Cordelia
  • Dardanella
  • I’m Rich
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Kneelin’ Me
  • Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be)
  • Hard Time Killin’ Floor 
The Lyman Family with Lisa Kindred: Avatar
  • California Water–Take One
  • James Alley Blues
  • Good Shepherd
  • Jesus Met The Woman At The Well
  • It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
  • My Love Comes Rolling Down
  • California Water—Take Two