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


  1. Taj Mahal, Ahmed Jamal ... you know my sideways thinking.We had the pleasure of listening to the latter in Perpignan last year but yesterday was the first this year of a series of “Les Jeudis de Perpignan” where tons of bands (all styles) invade the streets between 6 pm and 11 pm. One of them remains on the same orthographic line: Trio Jad (see www.lycee-charles-renouvier.com/actu/2007-2008/Hendrix.pdf). They’ve been the followers of excellent guitar player Serge Lazarevitch, head of the jazz section at the Conservatoire de Perpignan. But before that he also taught in Mons (Belgium) for several years. They played a kind of tribute to ... Jimi Hendrix, would you believe it? Excellent. NB: not to counfuse with “Jad Trio” nor “Le Trio de Jade”.
    For the same token, la “Fanfarefelue” did a gig yesterday as well. So what ? Well, it’s the band in which Mechthild, André Dominé’s wife, plays the alto saxophone. Just for fun, I send you a picture through other channels. And, what’s the connection here? Well, the shirt reminds me of Jim Budd, and André is Jim’s good pal.

  2. I naturally thought of Jim on seeing this shirt