22 Jul 2011

Taj Mahal, the singer

Henry Saint Clair Fredericks is the real name of the blues singer who uses the stage name of Taj Mahal. (nice shirt by the way)

I have loved this man's music since I listened to the first (?) record of his under his adopted name, maybe back in around 1969 or 1970. I once heard him playing live, in France, at the ever excellent Marciac Jazz Festival a few years ago, and was as impressed with his stage presence as I always have been by his considerable musical versatility, as he slides from blues to soul to reggae and other Carribean rythms, touching on African and Pacific music as well as pop/rock. The man is self-taught and yet embraces an admirable career of 50 years.

The choice of Taj Mahal the singer as today's subject came about simply because I was just listening again to one of his (to me) best records: Natch'l Blues. Yet I also realise that there is an obvious connection with the last article I produced here, about the current cricket series between India and England. Such are the brain's mysterious (or not so mysterious in this case) connections.

Of course, Tal Mahal, that fabulous temple to the love of a man for a woman, built in the 17th century. Was this why the blues singer chose his stage name? I don't know.

Listen in anyway...

This is Statesboro blues, which was on that early record if I remember rightly

and another one? (Senor blues, which is much more recent and a hommage to jazzman Horace Silver)

And one more for the road? (it just has to be the classic Walkin' blues in this live version). That's the man!

Keep on listening