Could this song be a hit today? I first heard “Midnight At The Oasis” performed by Maria Muldaur on NBC’s “Midnight Special” in 1974. That summer, it went to #6 on the charts and was Grammy-nominated for Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year. But when I heard it again yesterday for the first time in a long while, I wondered if it could make it today, in a country where anything that sounds remotely Islamic or Arabic generates blowback from loudmouths on TV and radio.
Take these lyrics for example…
You don’t have to answer
No, there’s no need to speak
I’ll be your only dancer, prancer
And you can be my sheik
Wait, what’s that about a sheik? Alert the xenophobes! And then there’s this:
I know your Daddy’s a sultan
A nomad known to all
With fifty girls to attend him, they all send him
Jump at his beck and call
That’s going to get the Islamophobes and the women’s rights groups upset. But there’s also the most confounding lyric:
Midnight at the oasis
Send your camel to bed
In what world was some guy choosing a camel over Maria Muldaur?