Wednesday, April 11, 2007

TAJ MAHAL - First 2 albums @320

He was born in Harlem in New York City, but grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. His father was a jazz pianist/composer/arranger of Jamaican descent, while his mother was a schoolteacher from South Carolina who sang gospel. His grandfather married a St. Kitts woman. His sister was Carole Fredericks. In his song titled Ain't It Funky Now, he talks about his past and where he grew up.
In the early 1960s he studied agriculture and animal husbandry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and graduated in 1964. (The same university also gave him an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 2006.) While there he formed Taj Mahal & the Elektras; using a stage name of the Taj Mahal was inspired by a dream.
After college, he moved to Los Angeles and formed the group Rising Sons with Ry Cooder in 1964. The group signed with Columbia Records and released one single and recorded another album which was not released by Columbia until 1992. Taj, frustrated with the mixed reaction to his music quit the group and went solo.
Still with Columbia, he released a well received, self titled album in 1968, and based on its success released a second album, Natch'l Blues that same year.
His music blends various sources: blues, reggae, Cajun, gospel, bluegrass, Hawaiian (in fact, Taj lived for many years on the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i), African and Caribbean musical traditions. While keeping true to their roots, he adds his own special touch. He also plays an assortment of musical instruments.
He has received two Grammy Awards in the category Best Contemporary Blues Album, the first in 1997 for SeƱor Blues, and again in 2000 for Shoutin' In Key.
On February 8, 2006, Taj Mahal was designated the "official Blues Artist" of Massachusetts by Chapter 19 of the Acts of 2006. On December 16, 2006, he appeared with his band, Taj Mahal Trio, at the 18th Annual Warren Haynes Xmas Jam in Asheville, NC. The appearance was recorded for an upcoming DVD which is to be released in early 2007.

Taj Mahal
"Leaving Trunk"
"Statesboro Blues"
"Checkin' up on My Baby"
"Everybody's Got to Change Sometime"
"EZ Rider"
"Dust My Broom"
"Diving Duck Blues"
"The Celebrated Walkin' Blues"

Natch`l Blues
"Good Morning Miss Brown"
"I Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Steal My Jellyroll"
"Going Up To The Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue"
"Done Changed My Way Of Living"
"She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride"
"The Cuckoo"
"You Don't Miss Your Water ('Til Your Well Runs Dry)"
"Ain't That A Lot Of Love"

LINKS: (copy links to browser and change *!!* to *tt*)
Taj Mahal
Natch`l Blues

Please leave a comment


Richard said...

Great stuff! Always a good listen.


. said...

I like Taj in various periods but first two are something special..

Anonymous said...

The Cuckoo ... Always thought him to be very old.. I Like this song since I heard it on a sample-blues-lp in 1970 or so
Thank u !

Anonymous said...

Sweet. Really love the first one with Ry Cooder all over it doing Sleepy John Estes and Yank Rachell and Son House etc. Thanks a million.

Anonymous said...

The 2nd album is, I think, his best... thank you so much for the posting

Beto said...

Grandes discos !!! Valeu mesmo

austinskater said...

thanks these are great.

i remember hearing recycling the blues and other related stuff awhile back and loved it... do you have any of taj's out of print columbia work from the late 60's or early 70's?

thanks again