Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Natch'l Blues
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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on February 12, 2001
I played the original vinyl release in 1969 until you could practically see through it. It was, and remains, a lesson in how to re-energize and re-interpret a type of music without losing sight of the traditions within. Taj, with the invaluable help of his tight and funky band, particularly the late, great, guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, just tears his way effortlessly through any manner of blues you care to name. Country blues ? "She Caught The Katy" is a whipsaw romp through an old Yank Rachael tune with Taj showing his considerable harp skills to good effect. How about some soul? "You Don't Miss Your Water" is the finest version of this soul standard I have ever heard and there's some good ones out there too. A little rock in your sock? "Ain't That A Lotta Love", a horn powered stroll through Bobby Bland territory, will put it there for ya. Taj has gone on through his illustrious career to explore many other types of music and it's all been first rate, but for sheer youthful fun and exuberance you can start right here. The bonus tracks are a nice addition too because there's no such thing as too much Taj.
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on March 18, 2002
I first bought this (early spring 1969) probably more for the astounding-looking cover (both front and rear) than for any other reason; but I had an idea that the music was going to be really good, and I was right. The breezes would be blowing through open windows, and listening to this made me feel like I was already outside, someplace way out in the country.
Taj Mahal plays/sings the blues with an uncharacteristically light, almost happy manner [despite what many would consider to be out of character], and in doing so, makes these tunes his own. Many of the songs mine the sub-genre of blues which uses more emotionally upbeat melodies and whose often humorous lyrics include plentifully adroit turns-of-phrase.
"My baby she long . . . my baby she tall. She sleeps with her head in the kitchen and her big feets out in the hall. So crazy 'bout that hard-headed woman 'o mine!"
Maybe that coterie of listeners which persists in honking about how the blues have to be down, dirty and depressing won't like this, but I'd say they might be missing something. If, as people who know the blues say, one sings it in order to better survive, there must be times when the blues uplifts into a comedy zone, or else music like this collection wouldn't have a genuine reason to exist. Myself, I'm very grateful it's here, intact.
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on September 5, 2000
Here it is 2000, The Natch'l Blues, an album with songs over 50 years old, recorded more than 30 years ago, is still as fresh and energic as anything recorded since. I first heard this album in 1970 and it introduced me to a kind of accoustic blues like I had not heard before and unfortunately, rarely since.
I still have the lp and whenever I have played it for friends, they have two reactions: its the best Delta country blues they ever heard, and why couldn't they get a copy? Thank you Sony/Columbia for this reissue. Taj signaled with this recording that country blues could be played with a hipness worthy of the Fillmore West/East and other hip venues of the times while being true to the forms of the genre. The Natch'l Blues is intelligent, relaxed and fun but it cooks and jumps and you know from the first notes of Good Morning Miss Brown that this album is has a special energy. Other cuts are just as much fun. Corrina and The Cuckoo are songs that have become Taj staples, but never done better than here on Natch'l Blues. The playing is done with intergrity. His grasp of the playing accoustic Delta blues wrings out an artistic honesty on every cut on this album that is uncommon.
This is Taj Mahal at his very country blues best; in my opinion, he has never recorded the Delta blues any better. He just keeps getting better, but, believe me: he was the best when he recorded Natchl Blues. And with Jesse Ed Davis and Ry Cooder on the session, the music on this cd is historic in musical proportions. The recent boxed set had a few of these cuts, (some are also are on The Best of Taj Mahal and Taj's Blues) but not enough if you want to know how great Taj Mahal plays country blues. The Delta blues don't get better than The Natch'l Blues.
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on September 28, 2000
What could you do to make the best blues album ever recorded even better? Add a few previously unreleased choice cuts to the CD mix! Clean, natural and unprentetious. I am having a tough time containing myself on this one! I have been looking for a CD release of this album for the last twelve years! Eureka!!!! This well educated young man has honored our ancestors, celebrated his roots, and enlightened several generations of listeners with this unparalleled masterpiece. Get it while it lasts! You could search a lifetime and never find a better or more genuinely soulful recording.
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on July 1, 2003
back in the late sixties if you were a music fan in So. Cali you got wind of Taj Mahal...he was an underground radio staple but you only heard his commercial sounding blues/rock stuff...when this album came out it was a shocker because it was so eclectic in the sense it was a blues primer 101....it was honest and most of all not blantly commerical...everything except "aint that alot of love" and "and your gonna miss your water"...is stripped down to the basics...you feel the emotion and care given to these songs....listening to these songs now is not a trip down memory lane but a cultural experience of the highest musical order....endulge yourself...alot of us "so cals" did
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on September 9, 2000
'THE NATCH'L BLUES' is a Taj Mahal masterpiece, yet ironically, this 1969 treasure seems to be one of the most under-rated blues records of all time, subsequently making it the early Taj album that's been the most difficult to find over the years. This re-issue momentarily solves that problem, but grab it while you can, 'Natch'l Blues' historically goes 'out of print' at record speed. The humorous conversation of 'Good Morning Miss Brown' slides along a sensual grooving bass-line while Taj on his 'National' guitar courts a rolling piano, interjected with some very tasty licks from Jesse Ed Davis. 'Corinna' is simply down to earth country blues at it's best, and 'I Ain't Gonna let Nobody Steal My Jellyroll' is a sexy delta-blues strut if you ever heard one, and watch your skirts while that guitar sizzles! 'Going Up To The Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue', is classic Taj, written around the time he moved to Topanga Canyon, this song captures a feeling and mood of the late '60s, when so many were drawn to the rural counter-culture enclave in the Santa Monica mountains, yet the message is timeless & more than relevant today. Besides fine writing and arranging, 'Mailbox' features nice harp by Taj and a righteous Jesse Ed Davis solo. 'Done Changed My Way Of Living' is a punchy percussive delta-flavored dance among bass, drums, symbols, and Jesse Ed Davis' guitar work, another example of Taj's considerable competence at reworking traditional blues components and making them his own. 'She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride' cuts Taj loose on harmonica, cooking up a nice resurrection for this old Yank Rachel tune. I saw this band perform many times, from the very early days on the back of an old flat-bed truck in the Topanga Shopping Center, through their many gigs a the 'Topanga Corral', and for me, 'The Cuckoo' most powerfully demonstrates how these guys could gel into a single voice pulling you right into the groove, crank it up & check out the jam at the end of this tune, it's as close as you're going to get to being there. On 'You Don't Miss Your Water' and 'A Lot Of Love' Taj dives into the kind of soul music more associated with Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, or Marvin Gaye, horn sections & all, showing us another facet of his ample abilities. I write this review from an out of print Edsel edition of this album (ED CD 231), so I can't comment on the bonus tracks included on the Sony/Columbia re-issue, but this top notch album needs no bonuses to earn five stars. Nothing could be more natural, cue it up early some Saturday morning, roll over in bed, kiss your honey on the lips, and have yourself a very nice day.
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on January 15, 2001
Truly one of the most original blues albums of all time. Masterful interweaving of traditional delta blues with modern urban blues and elements of soul and New Orleans all in a compelling mix that defies categorization and still sounds fresh thirty years later. Taj is one of those rare talents that combines influences in a way that sets him in a niche all by himself. He's just so amazingly earthy and soulful in such a unique and beguiling way and this record belongs in the pantheon of classic blues recordings.
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on July 3, 2016
I've been into blues music for about 10 years, but for some reason Taj Mahal has always flown under the radar for me- I had never really heard much of his music. It was clearly my loss, because this and his self-titled debut album are now two of my all-time favorite blues albums. This album is absolutely brilliant. She Caught the Katy is one of the greatest blues songs ever written, and his version of You Don't Miss Your Water (Until Your Well Has Run Dry) rivals Otis Redding's for the greatest version ever made.
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on November 22, 2013
I had t privilege to see the Taj Mahal trio perform at the Rhythm and Roots festival in September. His set list included a number of songs from this album, and sounded as fresh and compelling as this album did when it was released 40+ years ago. Most of the songs on this album are among my all-time favorites, and like a fine whiskey, they mellow and resonate with age.
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on August 16, 2013
I was introduced to Taj Mahal years ago. Since then I have collected some of the records. They wait patiently to be digitized to be burnt to a CD. The price was too good to pass up. Now it's part of the on going collection of Taj Mahal music. I do believe the Amazon page said there were 75 albums. That's a great deal of ear candy for me.
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