Reviews

Time Capsule Tuesday: Taj Mahal

By: Kyle Kreig

Album: Taj Mahal

Artist: Taj Mahal

Year: 1968

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

Anytime is the right time for the blues in my opinion, especially days such like today. It’s a typically dark, dreary autumn morning in New York State’s capital city. Everything is damp and cold. Only trace amounts of natural, green hues are visible outside my window; just about everything has turned to a crusty yellow or a dried-out brown. Unfortunately it is more than evident that the bright, vibrant days of summer have gone the way of the Sony Minidisc player… gone and long-forgotten.

 

My apologies for the melancholy shit, I’m just trying to set the mood.

 

Ever since Robert Johnson’s ghostly vocals and amazing, yet eerie slide guitar were first recorded, the genre of blues has been synonymous with feeling, well… blue.

 

That’s not the case when it comes to Taj Mahal’s debut, self-titled album. You’ll be feeling anything but blue after hitting play or dropping the needle on this album. From the first honking harmonica notes of “Leaving Trunk” to the final slide guitar riffs of “Celebrated Walkin’ Blues” this ‘blues’ album will have you feeling very sans-blues from start to finish.

 

Taj Mahal gives the blues an entirely new identity. It’s tasteful, well done, and creates a flawless marriage between traditional blues and straight ahead American rock and roll. The guitar riffs will keep your head bopping and rolling base lines will keep your feet moving.

 

When listening, be sure to check out “Statesboro Blues”  which was made famous by the Allman Brothers on their first live album The Allman Brothers Band At Filmore East. The second  track that is more than worth a listen is “Leaving Trunk.” This track showcases talent at their best. His guitar playing, harmonica chops and grittier than sandpaper vocals, all come together to create what I consider a blues masterpiece. I know that’s a bold statement, but I’m sticking to it.

 

I’m still trying to pickup the LP version of this album, which is pretty tough to find. So if you come across it while digging through the crates at your local shop PICK IT UP! You will not be disappointed, it’s the perfect all purpose soundtrack for any day. If you’re feeling down, it’ll lift you up. If you’re already feeling good, it’ll only make your day better. So get out there, pickup a copy of Taj Mahal and get blusey with it!

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