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Monday, May 29, 2017

Taj Mahal at 75

I must have first heard Taj Mahal on record at my Cousin Elliott's sometime in the early 70's, and I remember immediately being impressed by his deep rough voice and authentic finger picking style. From very early on, he had his own unique style, his own lovely arrangements of classic Blues songs, as well as things he adapted, rewrote, or wrote from scratch. Taj has always been the real thing - a true original in the framework of traditional and Folk Blues.

It was only a couple of years later that I had the pleasure of hearing him live at the Mariposa folk festival in Toronto and then at a few more festivals...

Over the decades since the 70's, Taj has continued to explore different facets and streams of Blues and Folk music, including some of his Caribbean roots. He has performed all around the world, and put out many different kinds of albums from acoustic duets to full acoustic bands with horns, to completely electric bands, each album completely different from the previous one ...

Last week Taj Mahal turned 75 years old, and he doesn't appear to be slowing down much, as he just released a new album and embarked on a concert tour, collaborating with Keb' Mo' on their joint project "TajMo".

The last time I saw Taj in person was on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise of January 2006 in the Carribean, where, aside from performing with his famous Phantom band, he would hang out on the deck by the pool, with a big cigar, and chat with anyone who wanted to sit down for a bit...always a great dresser, Taj seems to like hanging out with some of his audience and have long chats...

Happy 75th Birthday Taj!

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