Archive for the Taj MAHAL Category

Taj MAHAL – Taj's Blues 1968

Posted in BLUES, Taj MAHAL on December 4, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Taj MAHAL – Taj’s Blues 1968
1992 Issue.

Blues

If you don’t already have this one in your blues collection then you sure will need it soon! Taj’s vocals shine through on this recording. The recording has a very earthy quality and a nice rough edge and is very true to the blues tradition. Taj has a few albums where he wanders stylistically (even into reggae) but this one is pure blues. There are also a lot of good slide guitar and dobro licks here thanks to a few superb guest musicians. The music is sure to please both the blues fan as well as the blues musician
By  Dave.
**
Taj Mahal’s dazzling 1968 debut provides the foundation for this 12-song overview of the bluesman’s early solo years. Tracks like “Leaving Trunk” and “Statesboro Blues” from that first record signaled the arrival of a young black man grounded in tradition yet committed to innovation. Over the next half- dozen years, Taj fulfilled much of that promise. Taj’s Blues eschews his previous island folk experiments in favor of country blues inspired by Sleepy John Estes and Mississippi John Hurt. –Steven Stolder
Check out Taj Mahal. Taj’s Blues is a great listen. Taj Mahal has a talent for capturing a unique sound.
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One of the most prominent figures in late 20th century blues, singer/multi-instrumentalist Henry St. Clair Fredericks played an enormous role in revitalizing and preserving traditional blues.
His self-titled debut album was recorded in August 1967, and came out just as several established blues stars ventured into psychedelia and rock n’ roll at the insistence of their record companies.
But not Taj Mahal. These arrangements may be updated when compared to what Robert Johnson or Willie McTell did thirty-five years earlier, but it’s still the blues, genuine, mostly acoustic blues, dominated by harp and howling slide guitar.
These lean, stripped-down arrangements were alien to most record producers at the time, and they are part of the reason why this album holds up so well.
The best of these eight songs count among the best, catchiest, grooviest blues I have ever heard, and I have heard a lot!
Taj Mahal vocals are powerful and confident, he has a great sense of timing and melody, and he is backed by a magnificent band which includes lead guitarist Jesse Ed Davis and the multi-talented Ry Cooder.
(A facsimile of the original LP artwork is included, giving their names as “Jessie Edwin Davis” and “Ryland Cooder”. Taj Mahal calls his band “a son of a Texas sharecropper, a Hungarian Jew, a wild-eyed Irishman, and a crazy Swamp Spade!”)

Taj Mahal’s hard-hitting renditions of “Dust My Broom”, “Leaving Trunk” and “Statesboro Blues” are nothing short of magnificent; powerful, strongly rhythmic songs, perfectly arranged. And the nine-minute version of Son House’s “Walkin’ Blues”, which sees Taj Mahal playing both harp and rough, gruff slide guitar, is simply awesome.
The whole record is a compelling amalgam of stylistic and technical achievements, filled with blues influences of the 1920s and 30s, but also making use of stereo sound separation and state-of-the-art recording technology.
One of the best blues LPs of the 60s.
By  Docendo Discimus.
**
01. Leaving Trunk (4:50)
02. Statesboro Blues (2:58)
03. Everybody’s Got To Change Sometime (2:56)
04. Bound to Love Me Some (4:29)
05. Frankie & Albert (4:00)
06. East Bay Woman (9:19)
07. Dust My Broom (4:31)
08. Corinna (3:02)
09. Jellyroll (3:14)
10. Fishin’ Blues (3:09)
11. Sounder MedleyNeeded Time #2Curiosity BluesHorse ShoesNeeded Time #3 (5:28)
12. Country Blues #1 (2:40)
**

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Taj MAHAL – The Best Of 2000

Posted in BLUES, Taj MAHAL on November 17, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Taj MAHAL – The Best Of 2000

Blues

Though the box is too much as usual, rest assured that none of his albums have gotten worse. But since not everyone’s a natural sucker for John Hurt’s love child moved down to New Orleans and taken up with a St. Kitts woman, here’s where to find out how much you care. Five of 17 songs are also on the paradigm-shifting 1992 comp Taj’s Blues, which also begins (and why not?) with “Statesboro Blues” and “Leaving Trunk.” But starting with 1969’s The Natch’l Blues, say, would mean missing, to name just two, Dave Dudley’s Teamster-certified “Six Days on the Road” and the Pointer Sisters’ sashaying backup on “Cakewalk Into Town.” Don’t die without hearing that one. It’s reason to live all by itself.
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Columbia/Legacy’s 2000 collection The Best of Taj Mahal is a first-rate overview of Taj Mahal’s classic late-’60s/early-’70s work for Columbia. Spanning 17 tracks, including a previously unreleased cut “Sweet Mama Janisse” from 1970, this hits many of the key points from the records he released between 1967 and 1974, including “Statesboro Blues,” “Leaving Trunk,’ “She Caught the Katy and Left Me a Mule to Ride,” and “Fishin Blues.” Although his albums were constructed and worked as actual albums, this does an excellent job of summarizing these thematic affairs and functions as a nice introduction to Mahal’s music.
By Stephen Thomas Erlewine.
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This collection focuses on the very early Taj Mahal and contains most of his early classics. For anyone not familiar with this artist this is a great place to start. You get a full taste of “Taj Mahal”, “The Natch’l Blues” and “The Real Thing”(with the tuba band), his first 3 excellent albums, and it is obvious from these how eclectic a blues performer he is.
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Taj Mahal’s been chasing the blues around the world for years, but rarely with the passion, energy, and clarity he brought to his first three albums. Taj Mahal, The Natch’l Blues and The Real Thing are the sound of the artist, who was born in 1942, defining himself and his music. On his self-titled 1967 debut, he not only honors the sound of the Delta masters with his driving National steel guitar and hard vocal shout, but ladles in elements of rock and country with the help of guitarists Ry Cooder and the late Jessie Ed Davis. This approach is reinforced and broadened by The Natch’l Blues. What’s most striking is Mahal’s way of making even the oldest themes sound as if they’re part of a new era. Not just through the vigor of his playing–relentlessly propulsive, yet stripped down compared with the six-string ornamentations of the original masters of country blues–but through his singing, which possesses a knowing insouciance distinct to post-Woodstock counterculture hipsters. It’s the voice of an informed young man who knows he’s offering something deep to an equally hip and receptive audience.
Soon, Mahal turned his multicultural vision of the blues even further outward. The live 1971 set, The Real Thing, finds him still carrying the Mississippi torch, while adding overt elements of jazz and Afro-Caribbean music to its flame. But it’s overreaching. His band sounds under-rehearsed, and the arrangements seem more like rough outlines. Nonetheless, these albums set the stage for Mahal’s career. (For a condensed version, try the fine The Best of Taj Mahal.) Today, he continues to make fine fusion albums, like 1999’s Kulanjan, with Malian kora master Toumani Diabate, and less exciting but still eclectic recordings with his Phantom Blues Band.
By Ted Drozdowski.
**
01. Statesboro Blues 2:59
02. Leaving Trunk 4:49
03. Corinna 3:02
04. Going Up To The Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue 3:37
05. She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride 3:28
06. Take A Giant Step 4:17
07. Six Days On The Road 3:01
08. Farther On Down The Road 4:38
09. Fishin’ Blues 3:09
10. Ain’t Gwine To Whistle Dixie (Any Mo’) (Live) 8:26
11. You’re Going To Need Somebody On Your Bond (Live) 6:19
12. Cakewalk Into Town 2:34
13. Oh Susanna 5:28
14. Frankie And Albert 3:59
15. Chevrolet 2:38
16. Johnny Too Bad 3:17
17. Sweet Mama Janisse (previously unissued studio version) 3:32
**

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