Taj Mahal Original recording remastered
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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
Top Customer Reviews
Technically this isn't Taj's first album but it's the first album that most music fans heard Taj Mahal on. Both "Giant Step" and "De Ole Folks at Home" were released earlier and combined into a second release after the success of this self titled album.
Taj's album led me to appreciate the significance of blues players like Robert Johnson, who was a forgotten and obscure figure in the world of popular music before Taj Mahal. It was the first time I ever heard anyone play an open tuned guitar in the blues bottleneck style. I remember using a screwdriver and a newly purchased book of open tunings for guitar to imitate Jesse Davis' trademark southern fried guitar sound. A year later everyone from Duane Allman, Eric Clapton to Taj's own session player Ry Cooder had albums out playing bottleneck blues in the vintage style of Robert Johnson.
Nobody, not even John Fahey or Paul Butterfield did more than Taj Mahal to expand the audience for authentic blues to a crossover audience of suburban white kids who were living in the psychedelic renaissance of such great bands as the Doors, Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience when Taj's debut was released.Read more ›
This album has the energy, punch and optimism that filled the air in 1967. It fits perfectly with the first, self-titled album by Chicago's Butterfield Blues Band, and with the self-titled album by Chicago's Siegel-Schwall Band released by Wooden Nickel in 1971 (see my review). These albums still sound fresh today!
The only Taj Mahal album I love more than this one is HAPPY JUST TO BE LIKE I AM, from 1971, which has more of a country-blues emphasis, along with an awesome horn section and Taj's first foray into world-music with "West Indian Revelation." It was reissued by Wounded Bird Records in 2009, but now seems to be available only in MP3 form.
This album introduced me to the blues in 1968 and I have researched, played, sung, and loved the blues ever since. I still have the vinyl disk, worn and crackly. To have the music as clear and fresh as it is here is a godsend.
It's a lot of fun to get into the background of such music, hear its roots, and later hear (and understand) its offspring. But the best thing about this album -- it's just plain fun to hear.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had this beloved record in high school in the early 70s. Loved it then, love it now. Taj is the real deal.Published 1 month ago by Pedrovski
Love it. Saw him on YouTube singing with tedeschi trucks band and had to buy more of his music. If you like the blues you will love this album.Published 2 months ago by jp
As any Taj album it's totally different from the rest incredible first effort wicked slide guitarPublished 3 months ago by Clay Alder
Being a late comer to Taj Mahals discography I discovered this while researching Ry Cooders output of studio work. What a great disc front to back. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Drew T. '77
I had lost my copies of these albums. Glad to have them back in my collection.Published 4 months ago by Benjamn R. Panknen
Taj arrived with the persona of a cotton patch blues picker.....but his degree was from Amherst. Complex man.....terrific musician/singer. Read morePublished 4 months ago by bearridge