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Category Archives: taj mahal

No one knew quite what to make of this L.A. band in the mid-’60s, which unbelievably included Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, Kevin Kelly (later in the Byrds), and even Ed Cassidy (briefly) in the same lineup. They only managed one single on Columbia before breaking up in 1966, but they also got to lay down an album’s worth of unreleased material, which was finally issued over 25 years later. Their languid, bluesy, folksy sort of sound anticipated future recordings by outfits like Moby Grape, Buffalo Springfield, the Grateful Dead, and even the country-rock Byrds.

Their lone single and unreleased album form the core of this 22-track reissue, which features imaginative rearrangements of standards like “Corrine, Corrina,” an obscure Dylan cover (“Walkin’ down the Line”), rocking originals, a confident performance of Goffin/King’s “Take A Giant Step” (later Mahal’s signature tune), and nifty guitar interplay between Mahal and Cooder throughout. Overall, it sounds a lot more like it belongs in 1967-68 than 1965-66. This archival release has value above and beyond historical interest.

-Richie Unterberger,

Rising Sons-RISING SONS FEATURING TAJ MAHAL & RY COODER (1965, 2002 compilation)
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