Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

TAJ MAHAL

MAESTRO

2008-10-15

With a career that has passed the four decade mark and with countless albums and a couple of Grammy’s ® to his credit, Taj Mahal is a bona fide icon of American music. This wide-ranging disc is another stellar part of his legacy and includes guest appearances by a number of “A” list bands and performers as well as frequent collaborators, The Phantom Blues Band. Kicking things off with the soulful "Scratch My Back", a track most often associated with Otis Redding, Mahal moves easily through Reggae on "Never Let You Go" (featuring Los Lobos) and "Black Man Brown Man" (featuring Ziggy Marley) , funk, "Dust Me Down", (featuring Ben Harper) R & B, "Further On Down the Road" (featuring Jack Johnson), complex African rhythms, "Zanzibar" (featuring Angelique Kidjo and Toumani Diabate), blues, "Diddy Wah Diddy" (featuring the Phantom Blues Band) and "TV Mama" (Los Lobos) and percolating New Orleans second line grooves on the Fats Domino classic "Hello Josephine" and "I Can Make You Happy" (both featuring the New Orleans Social Club). The broad range of material allows Mahal to try on different voices ranging from the Omar Dykes style gut bucket growl of "I Can Make You Happy" and "Strong Man Holler" to the smooth, laid back drawl that makes him almost undistinguishable from Jack Johnson on "Further On Down the Road". The breadth of Mahal’s talent is evident as he moves through these various vocal styles, genres and musical pairings without ever sounding out of place. You would think that he’s spent his life with this material rather than just visiting it on his way to another musical frontier. Let’s hope the journey continues. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.