Taj Mahal

Labor of Love

Taj Mahal plays all sorts of folk, keyboard, and percussion instruments – and just about anything with strings. His deceptively easygoing approach to music – a trot rather than a frenzied gallop – has made for a long fruitful career. As a bandleader, he introduced us to some truly fine musicians, including guitar greats Ry Cooder and the late Jesse Ed Davis. After nearly 50 years recording, he’s not only robust and vital but perpetually interesting.

This album of audio snapshots, mostly from 1998, has Taj revisiting favorites like “Walking Blues” and “I’m Going Fishing” and performing with some of blues music’s true legends.

His duet with groundbreaking female Piedmont blues guitarist Algia Mae Hinton has the authenticity and charm that characterizes both players more than doubled by the pairing.

On “Walking Blues,” Taj reminds us of his tremendously singular and compelling way with a resonator guitar.

Taj’s career has only sweetened with time; his importance as a link between blues generations is more significant now than ever. But at the core he’s a wonderful entertainer and masterful player. It’s always a pleasure to spend some time with him.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s March ’17 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.