Hard as it is to believe now, at first most listeners weren't sure what to make of blues revisionist Taj Mahal's self-titled debut it when came out in 1968. To a pop-radio public then getting used to psychedelia and a louder, fuller version of the blues, Taj Mahal (featureing guitar work by Ry Cooder and Jesse Ed Davis), with its stripped-down, stereo renderings of traditional country blues tunes and covers of Sleepy John Estes, Robert Johnson, and Blind Willie McTell, was unlike anything else on the air. Thankfully, it didn't take many music lovers long to catch on, and the LP, now recognized as a masterpiece of modern blues, sold like crazy - as did its follow-ups, 1968's The Natch'l Blues and 1969's Giant Step. In the decades since, Taj Mahal has explored and expanded his chosen idiom to become a true contemporary blues icon.
Mahal, Taj