Taj Mahal

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Taj Mahal was born Henry St Claire Fredericks in New York and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, taking up guitar in his teens. In his early twenties he played in clubs round Boston, then moved to LA and formed the Rising Sons with Ry Cooder. Though the group's Columbia album was shelved, Taj made several iconoclastic recordings for the company like "The Natch'l Blues" and "Giant Step/De Old Folks At Home". In the 1970's he investigated Caribbean idioms like reggae and steel band music ("Music Para Tu" (1976); "Live And Direct" (1979)), while also writing and playing music for the movie Sounder.

On his 1990's recordings "Like Never Before", "Dancing The Blues" and "Phantom Blues" he began to call up blues and R&B memories of his youth, rearranging numbers like 'Mockingbird' and 'Lonely Avenue' with ingenuity and gusto. His instrumental versatility, now encompassing guitar, banjo, keyboards and harmonica, found a showcase in the music he wrote and played for the Lincoln Center production Mule Bone. In a 1995 encounter with N. Ravikiran and VM Bhatt, Mumtaz Mahal (Waterlily Acoustics), the trio applied African-American and Indian stringed instrument methods to Robert Johnson's 'Come On In My Kitchen' and the R&B classic 'Stand By Me' - just the sort of inquisitive, capricious idea that makes Taj's music so bracing.

Taj Mahal has made innovative music for 30 years, constantly refreshing himself with draughts from the wellsprings of the blues. On top of that, he has become a prime, though not always acknowledged model for younger black musicians of the 1990's who have gone exploring in the backwoods of early blues.

Selected Discography
Shake Sugaree -  - This album won two US awards
The Natch'l Blues - (Columbia/Edsel) -
Like Never Before - (Private) -
Dancing The Blues - (Private) -
An Evening Of Acoustic Music - (Traditional & Moderne) -

TajMahal_PrivateYears.jpg (6245 bytes) Best of Private Years

Track Listing:

  1. Blues Ain't Nothin'
  2. Here In The Dark
  3. Mind Your Business
  4. Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes
  5. Senor Blues
  6. Ohh Poo Pah Doo
  7. Hoochi Coochi Coo, The
  8. Mr. Pitiful
  9. Need Your Lovin'
  10. I'm Ready
  11. Sophisticated Mama
  12. Mockingbird
  13. That's How Strong My Love Is

TajMahal_ShoutininKey.jpg (6501 bytes) Shoutin in Key

Track Listing:

  1. Honky Tonk
  2. EZ Rider
  3. Ain't That A Lot Of Love
  4. Ev'ry Wind (In The River)
  5. Stranger In My Own Home Town
  6. Woulda Coulda Shoulda
  7. Leavin' Trunk
  8. Rain From The Sky
  9. Mail Box Blues
  10. Cruisin'
  11. Corrina
  12. Hoochi Coochi Coo, The
  13. Sentidos Dulce

TajMahal_SenorBlues.jpg (7426 bytes) Senor Blues

Track Listing:

  1. Queen Bee
  2. Think
  3. Irresistible You
  4. Having A Real Bad Day
  5. Senor Blues
  6. Sophisticated Mama
  7. Oh Lord, Things Are Gettin' Crazy Up In Here
  8. I Miss You Baby
  9. You Rascal You
  10. Mind Your Own Business
  11. 21st Century Gypsy Singing Lover Man
  12. At Last (I Found A Love)
  13. Mr. Pitiful

TajMahal_PhantomBlues.jpg (6374 bytes) Phantom Blues

Track Listing:

  1. Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes
  2. Cheatin' On You
  3. Hustle Is On, The
  4. Here In The Dark
  5. Fanning The Flames
  6. I Need Your Loving
  7. Ooh Poo Pah Doo
  8. Lonely Avenue
  9. Don't Tell Me
  10. What Am I Living For?
  11. We're Gonna Make It
  12. Let The Four Winds Blow
  13. Love Her With Feeling, (You've Got To)
  14. The Car Of Your Dreams