Blues Albums:

The Essential Taj Mahal

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Personnel: Taj Mahal (vocals, whistling, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar, National guitar, dobro, mandolin, harmonica, piano, upright bass, finger cymbals, hand claps); Jesse Ed Davis (guitar, electric guitar, piano); Ry Cooder (guitar, mandolin); Eric Bazilian (lap steel guitar); Howard Johnson (baritone saxophone, flugelhorn, tuba); Bob Stewart (trumpet, flugelhorn, tuba); Joseph Daley (trombone, tuba); Earl McIntyre (bass trombone, tuba); John Simon (piano, electric piano); Al Kooper, Bill Payne (piano); Gary Gilmore (electric bass); Kester Smith (drums, percussion); Chuck Blackwell, Sandy Konikoff (drums); Babatunde Olatunji (congas, djembe, shekere, percussion); Larry McDonald, Kwasi "Rocky" Dzidzournou (congas, percussion); Robert Greenidge, Andy Narell (steel drum); Hall & Oates, Merry Clayton, Sheryl Crow, Claudia Lennear (background vocals); The Pointer Sisters.

Liner Note Author: Tom Surowicz.

Recording information: 1967 - 1999.

An impressive two-disc compilation, THE ESSENTIAL TAJ MAHAL lives up to its name by charting the path of the acclaimed blues guitarist/vocalist's career from 1967 to 2004. Though always rooted in the blues, Mahal has incorporated other styles into his distinctive sound, including folk, R&B, and reggae. Proceeding in chronological order, this set begins in the late '60s, presenting tunes such as "The Celebrated Walkin' Blues," a spare song that features Mahal accompanied only by his former Rising Sons bandmate Ry Cooder on mandolin; and the gentle, lilting "Take a Giant Step." The second disc finds Mahal easing into a potent version of Bob Marley's "Slave Driver," while "The New Hula Blues" is a deft Hawaiian slack-key/blues hybrid, revealing the breadth of his stylistic range. As a relatively concise yet remarkably thorough overview of Mahal's decades-spanning catalogue, this 36-track compilation is absolutely indispensable.

Track Listing:

Disc 1:
  1. Leaving Trunk
  2. Statesboro Blues
  3. Celebrated Walking Blues, The
  4. She Caught The Katy (And Left Me A Mule To Ride)
  5. Corinna
  6. Going Up The Country Gonna Paint My Mailbox
  7. Take A Giant Step
  8. Six Days On The Road
  9. Country Blues
  10. Fishin' Blues
  11. Ain't Gwine Whistle Dixie (Anymo')
  12. You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond
  13. Happy To Be Just Like I Am
  14. West Indian Revelation
  15. Texas Woman Blues
  16. Cake Walk Into Town
  17. Frankie & Albert
  18. Railroad Bill
Disc 2:
  1. Johnny Too Bad
  2. Slave Driver
  3. St. Kitts Woman, (Clara)
  4. When I Feel Teh Sea Beneath My Soul
  5. Satisfied 'N' Tickled Too
  6. Love Theme In The Key Of D
  7. Everybody Is Somebody
  8. Crossing
  9. Don't Call Us
  10. Big Legged Mamas Are Back In Style
  11. That's How Strong My Love Is
  12. Here In The Dark
  13. Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes
  14. Senor Blues
  15. New Hula Blues, The
  16. Queen Bee
  17. Cruisin'
  18. John Henry - (with Etta Baker)
Release date NZ
August 16th, 2005
Legacy Recordings
Number of Discs
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