"Midnight at the Oasis" is a 1974 song performed by the singer Maria Muldaur and was her best-known recording, peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Written by David Nichtern, the song is a saucy, teasing offer of a desert love affair, in a fantasy setting that owes more to Rudolph Valentino sheik movies than to real Middle Eastern deserts. Allmusic reviewer Matthew Greenwald describes the song as "so sensual and evocative that it was probably one of the most replayed records of the era and also may be responsible for the most pregnancies from a record during the mid-'70s".
Some of the lyrics are doubtlessly suggestive (e.g., "let's slip off to a sand dune ... and kick up a little dust"; "you won't need no camel . . . when I take you for a ride"). But the tone is playful throughout. "Midnight" features a '70s-defining instrumental bridge, particularly memorable for the guitar work of Amos Garrett.
The lyric "Cactus is our friend..." is used several times in the song. The droll reference suggests an ersatz Hollywood "oasis", since cacti are New World plants native to North America, South America, and the West Indies; they are not found on the Arabian Peninsula naturally. A variation on the suggestive reference may be the saying "let's go out to the desert and watch the cactus grow".
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