In 1972, Maria and Geoff Muldaur parted ways personally and professionally, and Maria, keeping her married name, embarked on a solo career, moving with her young daughter to the west coast to do so. She hit a home run at her first at-bat, with a single from her first, self-titled album. "Midnight At the Oasis" went to #6 on the Billboard charts in 1974.
Here's a performance on the popular "Midnight Special" show from around the time it was a hit.
Maria Muldaur - Midnight At The Oasis
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In this video, Ms. Muldaur tells her story and the story of how the song came to be. It was a last-minute addition to her first solo album, written by her guitarist, David Nichtern. The song's lyrics tell of a desert love affair, presumably in the Middle East. It contains one of the silliest lyrics ever:
"Come on, Cactus is our friend
He'll point out the way
Come on, 'til the evenin' ends
'Til the evenin' ends"
On top of that, as many have pointed out, cacti are native to North and South America, not the Middle East.
In her interview, Ms. Muldaur recounts the many, many people who have told her that they conceived their children, lost their virginity to, or got married to the song.
Ms. Muldaur has continued to record and perform, sometimes with the Grateful Dead and their spin-offs. "Midnight At The Oasis" remains her only charting hit. In 2005, she won both a W.C. Handy Award and a Grammy in the Traditional Blues Category for her album "Sweet Lovin' Ol' Soul."
"Midnight At The Oasis" was immortalized in pop culture one more time in Sophia Coppola's "Lost In Translation," in the scene where the lounge singer who has spent the night with Bill Murray sings it as she walks around his hotel room.