Taj Mahal

Incredibly Taj Mahal has been performing since the mid-1960's; this may not seem like a long musical career to some of you, but when you consider the amount of energy Taj infuses into each and every performance, it's incredible. Equally overwhelming is the fact that Taj has recorded almost 40 studio albums, yet I believe this is his first official live DVD.

I have attended my fair share of Taj Mahal concerts and I've never gone home disappointed. I was slightly skeptical about this new DVD; I wondered how could any live concert DVD do justice to this man's exceptional live performances; yet I was pleasantly surprised. This DVD is a must own for any Taj Mahal fan and will make fans out of people just by watching "Live At Ronnie Scott's 1988" for the first time.

Henry St. Clair Fredericks or as he is known to most people Taj Mahal was born on May 17, 1942 in New York, NY and grew up in Springfield, Ma. Shortly after graduating from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Agricultural studies he began his long love affair with music. Initially, Taj Mahal played folk infused shows at local coffee houses but eventually left Massachusetts and teamed up with slide guitarist extraordinaire Ry Cooder in California to form the short lived Rising Sons, the band only released one single before breaking up. In 1990 more than 20 tracks recorded by the group some how re-surfaced on CD. Mahal released his first solo album in 1968 for Columbia records. The rest, as they say is history.

Taj is probably most known for preserving the blues as well as African-American traditional or roots music, however he is a multi-disciplined artist, well versed in the blues, folk, reggae, R&B, zydeco, gospel and jazz. This self-taught musician plays over 20 instruments including vocals, National Steel guitars and Dobro guitars, Slide Guitars, Piano, Harmonica, Bass, Banjo…just to name a few.

Taj Mahal's "Live At Ronnie Scott's 1988" backed by his International Rhythm Band is a must own; the audio and video components rank 15 out of 10. Seriously, this is probably my favorite music DVD of 2004. My personal favorite recordings on this disc are "Come In My Kitchen" and "Fishing Blues," which are performed without any accompaniment. Although "Mailbox Blues," "Staggerlee" and "Statesboro Blues" will undoubtedly get your feet tapping. This incredible DVD contains 9 live recordings and a bunch of not to be missed added special features.

Special features include:

– Audio introduction, commentary, overview and review by Charles Shaar Murray; this feature may be turned on or off; leave it on and check out this feature, it's insightful.

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