Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Pop
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 art... more »
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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. --Ted Drozdowski
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An original take on the blues
Rick Nunley | RICHLAND HILLS, TX USA | 10/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've listened to the blues all of my life being lucky enough to grow up in a home full of people who loved music.In a genre such as the blues it's hard to be truly original. Taj and guitarist Jesse Ed Davis find a groove on this album that interprets this old and revered style of music in a personal and original way. This is Taj's finest work. The happy,country feeling he explores pours out through his vocals,his steel-bodied guitar and his fabulous harp playing. I also consider this to be the very best work of a gifted guitar player, Jesse Ed Davis. He's extremely mellow here,understated but feeling the groove and letting those feelings emanate from his axe. Give a listen to "She Caught the Katy" or "Ain't Nobody Gone Steal My Jellyroll". These songs have been done countless times but never before or since like Taj and Jesse do them here."
Red Emma | 06/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Taj Mahal since the early '70s and wore out my vinyl recording of this album long ago. Finally, I was able to get it on CD with Amazon and it is just as great now as it was when I first heard it. With a combination of traditional and folk blues, electric blues, and soul, the album demonstrates Taj's eclectic talent even early in his career."