Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Hear This 

The globe-spanning vision and soulful blues of Taj Mahal

Tuesday, Dec 24 2002
Three decades after its original release, Recycling the Blues & Other Related Stuff still stands as the best testament to Taj Mahal's indomitable spirit and large vision. Essentially a solo effort split between a live recording at the Fillmore and a session at Columbia Records' San Francisco studios, Mahal's sixth LP opens with a Caribbean shout-out on a conch shell and a peaceful ditty on African thumb piano. Then, the artist (born Henry St. Clair Fredericks) digs deep into his grab bag of rural blues, spirituals, and old-timey songs, singin' and pickin' (on steel-bodied acoustic guitar, banjo, and upright bass) with a gusto that made him a star on the folk circuit of the late '60s.

Throughout his storied career, which has spanned three dozen albums and thousands of performances around the globe, Mahal has explored nearly all the popular African-influenced idioms -- from zydeco to reggae to jazz -- as well as delving into Indian classical and Hawaiian music. But at 60 years old, he sounds most at home evoking the consummate soulfulness of the blues and folk styles, the simple but powerful song forms of his earliest days.

About The Author

Sam Prestianni


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"