Era: 1961 – 1978
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.
Taj Mahal moves from Springfield, MA. To the golden hills of California with friend and fellow musician Jessie Lee Kincaid
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
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.
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
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
Giant Step/ De Ole Folks at Home – released in 1969
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
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.
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
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:
“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)
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.
Taj Mahal signs with Warner Bro. Records
1st record on Warner Brothers:
Music Keeps Me Together – released 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
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
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
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
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  aka Saturday Night Live: Episode 048 [TV]
Performer: Musical Guest
1977 Scott Joplin [TV]
Actor: Poor Alfred
1977 Brothers [movie]
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