<back - TAJ MAHAL - Taj Mahal, born Henry Saint Claire Fredericks, May 17, 1942 in New York and raised up in Springfield, Massachusetts. Henry's mother was a Gospel-singing school teacher, and his father a Jamaican composer/arranger and avid Jazz fan. "My father had this old Firestone radio with a short-wave band. I could listen to London, Rio, Havana, Kingston, Moscow, all around the world, and I could hear people's souls through their music." recalls Taj. He explored the roots of American Blues and other forms of music filtered through the black experience in America at the time. He idolized such pioneers as Jimmy Reed, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Rogers, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Robert Johnson, Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry.

During 1941-43, he had an R&B band called Taj Mahal and the Elektras that performed in Boston coffeehouses, nightclubs and the local college pubs. After earning his degree in agriculture and animal husbandry from University of Massachusetts in 1944, Taj Mahal emerged professionally as a musician the following year, and co-founded The Rising Sons with master guitarist Ry Cooder. This led to a recording contract for Taj Mahal with Columbia Records and the release of his first 3 solo albums, Taj Mahal (1948), The Natch'l Blues (1948), and Giant Step (1949) cemented his music as the REAL thing in Blues and Rock n' Roll. Next came 1971's Happy Just to Be Like I Am, and 1972's double-live release, The Real Thing, featuring the Howard Johnson horn section. In 1973, Taj Mahal did the soundtrack for the hit movie ' Sounder', (he had a small role in this film as well) and in 1974 Taj recorded his classic hybrid Mo' Roots. Next came Music Keeps Me Together (1975) and Satisfied n' Tickled Too (1974), marking his change to Warner Bros in 1977. Taj released 3 records for them in that year, Musica Para Tu, Evolution and the soundtrack to the movie 'Brothers'. For most of the 80's Taj did not record, and moved to Hawaii, touring occasionally on the mainland. 1991 marked Taj Mahal's full-fledged return to recording and touring, starting with the release of Like Never Before on the Private Music label. Follow-ups were Dancing the Blues (1993), Phantom Blues (1994) and Señor Blues (1997), which received a Grammy that same year. 1998's Sacred Island was recorded with his new Hula Blues Band, and 1999's Kulanjan was with Malian kora player Toumani Diabate. These were accompanied by many successful worldwide tours and the release of Shoutin' In Key (Taj Mahal and The Phantom Blues Band, 2000), Hanapepe Dream (Taj Mahal & the Hula Blues Band. 2003), Martin Scorcese Presents Taj Mahal (2003) A self-taught musician, Taj Mahal plays over 20 instruments and has recorded and/or performed with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, B.B.King, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Rogers, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Pointer Sisters, Neville Brothers and The Rolling Stones.  MP3 - Crazy Up In Here | Fishin' Blues |


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