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Hanapepe Dream

Taj MahalAudio CD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)


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Audio CD, Import, 2010 $28.25  
Audio CD, 2003 --  

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Music

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Biography

American blues musician Taj Mahal, was born Henry Fredericks in New York in 1942. His music is a mix of blues, Caribbean styles, bluegrass and the music of Hawaii, where he lived for a number of years.

He formed Rising Sons with fellow bluesman Ry Cooder, playing at Whisky a Go Go, which gave him the opportunity to play with blues legends, amongst them Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and ... Read more in Amazon's Taj Mahal Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 10, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: June 10, 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tone Cool
  • ASIN: B00009KDRA
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,916 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Great Big Boat
2. Black Jack Day
3. Moonlight Lady
4. King Edward's Throne
5. African Herbsman
6. Baby, You're My Destiny
7. Stagger Lee
8. Livin' On Easy
9. My Creole Belle
10. All Along The Watchtower
11. Handpepe Dream

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Though he earned earliest acclaim as a blues traditionalist, Taj Mahal is no purist. Instead, he's an eclectic artist who finds common spirit with the blues in a multicultural array of styles. This album's acoustic arrangements lace the ukuleles, slack and steel guitars of Hawaii (where Taj lived for 15 years) with the airier strains of flute and saxophone and the lilt of the African kalimba. Within this follow-up to 1998's Sacred Island, the music island-hops from the Pacific to the Caribbean, as a blend of reggae and calypso influences highlight "Great Big Boat," "King Edward's Throne," and "African Herbsman." Taj and his Hula Blues band additionally apply their transformational power to a sinuously propulsive rendition of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," as well as providing syncopated renewal for traditionals "Black Jack Davy" and "Stagger Lee" plus Mississippi John Hurt's "My Creole Bell." Straying furthest from bedrock blues, the lovely Hawaiian balladry of "Moonlight Lady" shimmers like moonbeams dancing across the ocean ripples. --Don McLeese

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
(6)
3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a cool drink of summer July 4, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Taj Mahal has never done an album so good-natured and accessible as Hanapepe Dream. It's a perfect summer record, full of high spirit and sunny attitude -- not to mention, of course, the sort of splendid, inspired musicianship Taj and Hula Blues bring to the party.
Sometimes pigeon-holed as a bluesman, Taj is actually far more than that, more an old-fashioned songster in a modern context, picking up a variety of roots styles and incorporating them into a coherent art. Even so, I was surprised to see Taj take on the centuries-old ballad "Blackjack Davy" (aka "Gypsy Davy," "Raggle Taggle Gypsies," et al.), but not so surprised to hear how well he reimagines it. He fuses part of the ballad text with the floating "who's gonna shoe your pretty little foot" verses, setting it to gently rocking r&b sounds. It is sheer delight. The 108-year-old African-American murder ballad "Stagger Lee" is unkillable, of course, but Taj's reading sounds so fresh that you'd swear he'd come upon the song for the first time only last week. "Livin' on Easy," a traditional Hawaiian tune with charmingly goofy, playful lyrics ("She has the personality/ To suit my geneology"), is the perfect summer song. Taj expertly captures the breezy romantic wistfulness of "My Creole Belle," ordinarily associated with Mississippi John Hurt.
It's all here -- folk ballads, calypso, Hawaiian slack key, r&b, blues, reggae, vintage pop, Dylan -- and it's all Taj Mahal music. What a great artist. What a wonderful album.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The wistful blues October 1, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Has Taj Mahal lost it? One might think so after a superficial listen to his latest outing. Closer attending renders a different conclusion.
It's all about the vibe, here--one that, apparently, not everyone can get on board with. How can you have the blues on Hawaii? Or in the Caribbean? Simple. Not everyone is a plantation owner or scuba-diving tourist guide. Read V. S. Naipaul's great book, The Middle Passage, and find out what it means to be a "client culture."
Yes, there's a kind of inanity in much of the lyrics (although a good portion of them are traditional). Yes, this is miles from Mississippi John Hurt (although it contains one of his tunes), let alone Cory Bell or even Muddy Waters.
But you know what? Taj Mahal still works his magic here: The trademark vocal gruffness, esp. manifesting itself at the end of "Blackjack Davey" (easy to see where Captain Beefheart got his basic approach from), the raw edge of his electro-acoustic guitar (which has pretty much replaced his National Steel guitar), the loosy-goosy ensemble playing--all of which is perfectly suited to the island-blues vibe he's evoking here.
I, for one, celebrate this nifty transformation of the blues into an island key. And if you've got big ears, I think you will too.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This cd gives the blues... July 4, 2003
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This cd gives the blues, but not in the way intended. This is a disappointing cd from a musician who has produced many great works. The music draws from Hawaiian music, but not enough. What comes out is a water down version mixed with a dash of R&B.
The band is not much better in concert. I recently saw them at the Fillmore in SF. They appear to be very good musician, but there is no spark. All the energy was coming from Taj. He had three ukulele players, and this could have been a great opportunity to show mainlanders what a great ukulele musician can do with four strings. But, these musician only played rhythm and mostly the three chords all ukulele students learn in the first lesson, G, F and A. My son and I, the next night, went to a concert of hawaiian music which was excellent by Amy Gillion, Willie K and Makana.
I advise getting Taj Mahal with the Phantom Band or earlier material. If you want hawaiian music visit the international music section at Amazon.com and try some of the musician listed above, or others such as Ohta-San, Sistah Robi, Iz, or many of the excellent slack key guitarist.
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