Era: 1961 – 1978

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1961

1961- Taj Mahal joins forces with R&B dance band “The Elektras” The Elcktras quickly become a popular dance band on area campuses.
Personnel: Taj Mahal vocals, Ray Souza -Tenor, Alto and Baritone saxophone, Charles “Chucky” Reed – Tenor saxophone, Marcel Krudele – Guitar, Jack Moran – Bass, Don Littlefield – Drums, Steve Bonds- organ, Steve – Piano.

1965

 Taj Mahal moves from Springfield, MA. To the golden hills of California with friend and fellow musician Jessie Lee Kincaid

rising SOn1966

Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder, Jesse Lee Kincaid, Gary Marker and Kevin Kelly form band Rising Sons.
Rising Sons signs recording contract with Columbia Records and recorded what turned out to be their only album Rising Sons.
*This album was later released on cd in 1992 for the first time

1968

Taj Mahal releases debut album Taj Mahal on Columbia Records.
Personnel: Taj Mahal – Vocals, Slide Guitar, Harp; Ry Cooder– Rhythm Guitar, Mandolin; Jessie “Ed” Davis– Lead Guitar, Piano; Bill Boatman – Rhythm Guitar; James Thomas – Bass; Chuck Blackwell – Drums.
“ When this Columbia recording entitled Taj Mahal appeared, it indicated the power of an undeclared movement that had arrived from no place anyone would have predicted.” 
Opening line from liner notes written by Stanly Crouch in 2000.

N. taj LS window1968

Natch’l Blues

1968 Columbia

Following his self-titled 1968 debut by only a few months, The Natch’l Blues is a riveting blend of superb musicianship and songwriting. Track Listing: Good Morning Miss Brown, Corrina, I Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Steal My Jellyroll, Going up to the Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue, Done Change My Way of Living, She Caught the Katy (And Left Me a Mule to Ride ), The Cuckoo, You Don’t Miss Your Water (‘Til You Well Runs Dry), Ain’t That a Lot of Love, New Strangers Blues, Things Are Gonna Work Out Fine

Personnel:

Taj Mahal- Harp (Harmonica) and Miss “National ,” Steel-bodied Guitar, Vocals

Jesse Edwin Davis – Guitar, Piano, and Brass arrangements

Gary Gilmore – Bass

Chuck Blackwell – Drums

Al Kooper – Piano

Earl Palmer– Drums

 

1969

Giant Step/ De Ole Folks at Home – released in 1969
Giant Step
Personnel: Taj Mahal, Jessie “Ed” Davis, Gary Gilmore & Chuck Blackwell

De Ole folks at Home
Personnel: Taj Mahal – Vocals, Harp, Guitar, banjo and Jive

1969 Music Credits

  • Bloomfield – Live at Bill Graham’s Fillmore…: Vocals

1971

The Real Thing – recorded February 13th 1971 at The Fillmore East in New York City. Taj’s first recording with Howard Johnson’s Tuba Band.
First recording with Bill Rich on Bass, Bill  tours with Taj still today as part of
The Taj Mahal Trio.
Personnel: Howard Johnson: Tuba, Flugelhorn, Baritone Saxophone, Brass Arrangements- Bob Stewart: Tuba, flugelhorn, Trumpet – Joseph Daley: Tuba, Trombone – Earl McIntyre: Tuba, Bass Trombone – Bill Rich: Bass
John Simon: Electric Piano, piano – John Hall: Electric guitar – Greg Thomas: Drums – Kwai “Rocky” DziDzournu: Congas –
Taj Mahal: Vocals, Acoustic and amplified Harp, Steel guitar, Five Stringed guitar, and Fife.

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1972

Happy To Be just Like I Am

Recorded on Columbia Records

Personnel: Taj Mahal, Jesse Ed Davis John Simon, Bill Rich, Howard Johnson
Track Listing: Happy Just To Be Like I Am, Chevrolet, Stealin’, Eighteen Hammers
Tomorrow May Not Be Your Day, Oh Susanna, West Indian Revelation
Black Spirit Boogie

Sounder – (1972)

First acting role as the character “Ike” in the powerful story of a sharecropper’s family, set in rural Louisiana during the early 1930s.
Directed by Martin Ritt Starring: Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks, Carmen Mathews, Taj Mahal
Sounder  – Soundtrack written and composed by Taj Mahal

 

Recycling The Blues & Other Related Stuff  – Released 1972
Columbia Records
Track Listing: Conch, Kalimba, Bound To Love Me Some, Ricochet, A Free Song, Corrina Conch Close, M’Banjo, Cakewalk Into Town, Sweet Home Chicago, Texas Woman Blues, Gitano Negro

Soul TV – First national television appearance. Taj Mahal and Cecily Tyson appear as guests to discuss new movie Sounder.

 

1972 Music Credits

  • B.B. King – L.A. Midnight: Guitar, Harmonica
  • Pamela Polland – Pamela Polland: Guitar
  • Original Soundtrack – Sounder: Taj Mahal  plays Banjo, Harmonica, Fife, Guitar (Steel), Vocals, Handclapping. Is also a Producer & Composer
  • Various Artists – Fillmore: The Last Days:

1973

“Ooh So Good in Blue” released on Columbia Records Track Listing: Buck Dancer’s Choice, Little Red Hen, Mama Don’t You Know Frankie And Albert, Railroad Bill, Dust My Broom, Built For Comfort Teacup’s Jazzy Blues Tune

1973 Music Credits

  • Bonnie Raitt – Takin’ My Time: Bass, Guitar, Harmonica, Harp, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Bass (Acoustic)

Taj 19741974

Mo’ Roots – released on Columbia Records
Taj Mahal was one of the first, if not “The First”, to connect “The Blues” as we know it here in America – with it’s Caribbean/ Jamaican ancestry. Like a plant, “The Blues” has many Roots.
Bob Marley and Aston “Family Man” Barrett of the Wailers assist in production on tracks: Slave Driver, Cajun Waltz, and Big Mama.
“Family Man” sets in on ska piano on track Slave Driver.
Track Listing: Johnny Too Bad, Black Jack Davey, Big Mama, Cajun Waltz Slave Driver, Why Did You Have to Desert Me? Desperate Lover Clara (St. Kitts Woman)
* First album that Kester Smith and Bill Rich appear together on album with Taj. Today they are better known as The Taj Mahal Trio
Personnel: Taj Mahal, Hoshal Wright, Bill Rich, Kwasi “Rocki” Dzidzornu, Kester “Smitty” Smith, Rudy Costa, & Merle Saunders. Aston “Familyman” Barrett, Sister Carole Fredericks, Tommy Henderson, Miss Claudia Lennear, and Miss Merry Clayton on background vocals.

1975

Taj Mahal signs with Warner Bro. Records
1st record on Warner Brothers:
Music Keeps Me Togetherreleased on  Warner Bros. available on Vinyl
Track listing: Music Keeps Me Together, When I Feel the Sea Beneath My Soul, Dear Ladies, Aristocracy, Farther on Down the Road (You Will Accompany Me) Roll, Turn, Spin, West Indian Revelation, My Ancestors, Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Why?…And We Repeat/Why?…And We Repeat

Band: Intergalatic Soul Messengers Band

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1976

Satisfied and Tickled Too- released on Warner Bros. Records
*The song Black Man, Brown Man was later recorded by Judy Mowatt
Track Listing: Satisfied & Tickled Too, New Ez Rider Blues, Black Man, Brown Man, Baby Love. Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, Misty Morning Ride, Easy to Love, Old Time Song Old Time Love, We Tune  Personnel: Taj Mahal – lead vocals, T. Life – guitar, Carl Larkin – guitar, Don Moors – vibes, Sam Cox – drums, John Turk – keyboards, Joachim Young – keyboards, Stan Mulelland – bass, Rafael Ramirez – congas, Rich Myers – alto sax, Rudy Costa – soprano sax, Mother’s Children – background vocals

1976 Music Credits

  • Wendy Waldman – Main Refrain: Vocals

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1977

The Brother’s Soundtrack           available on Vinyl
Track Listing: 1. Love theme in the key of D   2. Funky Butt   3. Brother’s doin time   4. Nightrider   5. Free the brothers   6. Sentidos Dulce (Sweet feelings) 7. Funeral March 8. Malcolm’s Song 9. David and Angela

Music Fuh Ya          Warner Bros. available on Vinyl
Track Listing: You Got It, Freight Train, Baby, You’re My Destiny, Sailin’ Into Walker’s Cove, Truck Driver’s Two Step, The Four Mills Brothers, Honey Babe, Curry

1977

Evolution  (most recent)      released on Warner Bros.
Over 30 musicians combined, joined Taj Mahal on this recording.
Core Band: Taj Mahal: Lead Vocals, Mandolin, Banjo – Rudy Costa : Soprano and Alto Saxophone, Flute, and  Kalimba – Bill Rich : Bass – Larry Mc Donald: Congas and Percussion – Kester Smith: Trap Drums – Robert Greenidge: Steel Drums – Back Ground vocals: Carol Fredericks and Claudia Stefer.
Complete personnel listing available on cd.
Track Listing: Sing A Happy Song, Queen Bee, Lowdown Showdown,
The Most Recent Evolution of Muthafusticus Modernusticus, Why Do You Do Me This Way, Salsa de Laventille, The Big Blues, Highnite, Southbound With The Hammer Down

Taj 1978Film

1972 Sounder [movie]
          Songwriter / Composer of musical score / Actor: Ike Phillips
1976 Sounder, Part Two [movie]
          Composer of musical score / Actor: Ike Phillips
1977 Saturday Night Live: Madeline Kahn [2] aka Saturday Night Live: Episode 048 [TV]
          Performer: Musical Guest
1977 Scott Joplin [TV]
          Actor: Poor Alfred
1977 Brothers [movie]

Billboard Charts

1969 Giant Step/De Ole Folks At Home Pop Albums No. 85
1969 The Natch’l Blues Pop Albums No. 160
1969 The Natch’l Blues Black Albums No. 47
1971 The Real Thing Pop Albums No. 84
1972 Happy Just To Be Like I Am Pop Albums No. 181
1972 Recycling The Blues & Other Related Stuff Pop Albums No. 177
1973 Oooh So Good ‘N Blues Pop Albums No. 190
1973 Oooh So Good ‘N Blues Jazz Albums No. 22
1974 Mo’ Roots Pop Albums No. 165
1975 Music Keeps Me Together Pop Albums No. 155
1975 1975 Music Keeps Me Together Black Albums No. 40
1976 Satisfied ‘N Tickled Too Black Albums No. 54
1977 Music Fuh Ya’ (Musica Para Tu) Pop Albums No. 134