Taj Mahal : Cakewalk Into Town
taken from the album “Recycling The Blues & Other Related Stuff”
on Columbia (1972)
Taj Mahal : Farther On Down The Road
taken from the album “Giant Step” on Columbia (1969)
Taj Mahal : Queen Bee & Salsa de Laventille
taken from the album “Evolution” on Warner Bros (1978)
Taj Mahal : Why Did You Have To Desert Me?
& Clara (St. Kitts Woman)
taken from the album “Mo’ Roots” on Columbia (1974)
Taj Mahal : Satisfied ‘N Tickled Too, Easy To Love & Misty Morning Ride
taken from the album “Satisfied ‘N Tickled Too” on Columbia (1976)
When you fall in love with a song, you mark yourself for life. You can forget about the song, but you won’t forget the song. You’ll hear it again and experience the type of space-time warping that string theory scientists are still struggling to define. And when you really need a particular piece of music from your past, when a hungry hole of nostalgia or pain rings in your chest like an empty hallway, you have the innate ability to diagnose yourself with the perfect musical prescription. Turning up the volume and traveling on memories is a magic luxury that has carried our ancestors through struggle since the dawn of the lullaby. This week I was in need of comfort, and from some unknown inner dimension, my memory played a melody that collapsed the past into the present and future. I felt my 16 year-old self hearing “Cakewalk Into Town” for the very first time (endless thanks to Chattanooga Hammy Hamilton for that introduction), I could feel the me now, lying on the floor with a little ball of fur named Rosco purring between my fingertips, and I could also see the brightness yet to come. After playing that first Taj LP, I pulled out one after another and continued tripping through past loves. There’s so many good tunes, and somehow I’d gone all these years without a single one on MP3!?! Now I’ve been listening to Taj almost exclusively for a week and I figured I should share my little personal “best of” collection – even though there’s lots more to check for.
The music of Taj Mahal is roots and soul. Part Cymande, part Muddy Waters, part (dare I say it) Grateful Dead- entirely it’s own entity which fits within no genre. Call me cheesy, call me a hippy, your words will fall flat against the might of what I feel when I listen to his songs. Where else does steel drum and harmonica mix with banjo and flute so naturally? And his voice alone carries some songs- raw and warm like milk out the utter. It hath been taken there. I’m still a country boy at heart and every once in a while I have to let it show. Truth be told, my lil baby brother was even named “Taj” after senor blues himself.