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The Best Of Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
The Best Of Taj Mahal
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Pop
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1

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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CD Details

All Artists: Taj Mahal
Title: The Best Of Taj Mahal
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Columbia/ Legacy
Release Date: 9/5/2000
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Pop
Styles: Contemporary Blues, Electric Blues, Acoustic Blues, Modern Blues, Contemporary Folk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 074646585627, 5099749817128

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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CD Reviews

Good But Not The Best!
deepbluereview | SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA USA | 04/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Taj has become the torchbearer of the blues and, over the years, has developed a very large following and a comprehensive catalog of releases. In order to put this recording into prospective it's necessary to look at what is here. What you find on this disc is a collection of some very fine material dating from 1967 to 1974. So, while the material may be the best of Taj for that period, and that is debatable, it would be unfair to Taj and to his fans to call this a collection of his best works. Anything short of a box set could not possibly cover the broad array of excellent releases put out by this individual. That being said, the reproduction of "Leaving Trunk" and "Corinna" are not of the best quality. However, the rest of the CD is a good representative sample of Taj's early releases. While I would encourage individuals to buy this disc, I feel a certain obligation to the man that has produced so many quality songs over the past 30 plus years to also suggest the box set "In Progress & In Motion"."
What A Find!
s.e.a. | Foxborough, MA | 02/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I had heard the name, Taj Mahal over the years but never took the time to investigate his music. Then one day while listening to the radio, the song "Fishing Blues" came on and it sparked my interest. When I saw that he had this "Best Of..." collection I figured it would be a good place to start. Well,I haven't stopped playing it since I recieved it. What a find, this is great music! Every track on this cd touched me in some way. Songs like "Statesboro Blues", "Leaving Trunk", and "She Caught The Katy" are gritty, bluesy, and soulful. Taj sings with a voice that was made for the blues, and plays a mean harmonica to boot.

Aside from the songs on this collection that really cook, there are others that seem to transcend the blues and create a different feeling. "Corinna", "Take A Giant Step" and "Johnny Too Bad" are more thoughtful and laid back, making for a good mix of tempos'. Then, just when I thought it couldn't get much better, I listened to the jazzed up, instrumental "Ain't Gwine To Whistle Dixie (No Mo')". Awesome! Then there's "Oh Susanna", a song that you might think you've heard before as a child, but not like this! I could go on, but just know that all in all this is a collection of incredible, inspired music from a great artist,and track for track, it's one of the best albums I have ever purchased."
Great Summary
jbembe | Ann Arbor, MI United States | 10/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I absolutely agree that one should own the box set, but this disc is worth owning alone for "Chevrolet." That song really gets me going, and I play it for my wife all the time to let her know how I feel. This disc will only fuel your longing for more taj mahal, so get it and save up for the box set!! If you get the chance check out the grammy-winning "Shouting in Key." That is the best disc of all."