Sunday, May 18, 2008

Taj Mahal - "Everybody's Got To Change Sometime" (Columbia)

Hello again, everyone. I hope you're ready for a smokin' piece of funky blues this round. This is another record that Todd turned me onto. When I heard it, I knew I had to find me a copy and pronto! Luckily, I found one pretty cheap and, of course, it's been getting a lot of spins on the old turntable. It's today's selection by the one and only Taj Mahal.

Mahal has had a lengthy and legendary career as one of America's most prominent blues musicians. However, his music has also included many influences including gospel, reggae, Cajun and African traditions. Today's cut, though, is straight-ahead blues and it is hot! It was recorded in 1967 and released in 1968 as part of Taj Mahal's first released, self-titled album. On it, Mahal recorded songs by many well-known blues artists, including Robert Johnson and, with this cut, Sleepy John Estes, whom Mahal references briefly as the record fades out.

Mahal's band here includes Ry Cooder and Jesse Ed Davis on guitars, James Thomas on Bass and Sanford Konikoff on drums. (Note: I got this information from Wikipedia, who are not always known for their accuracy, so if any corrections need to be made, please feel free to tell me.) They start off the song with slammin' drums and scorching guitars as Mahal growls out the vocals. When it's time for a guitar solo, Mahal goes "SMOKE THAT GUITAR, BOY, SMOKE THAT GUITAR!" and the guitarist does exactly what he's told. In fact, the whole band is smokin' throughout the barely three-minute running time.

And that's that. If I were the creator of this world, this burnin' number would be on the top of the charts everywhere. But the album was acclaimed when it first came out and it started Mahal off on his amazing career, which continues on to this very day. You can check out his latest doings on his website, In the meantime, let's enjoy a 45 where the bluesman and his band are laying out some heavy grooves. And remember: "SMOKE THAT GUITAR, BOY, SMOKE THAT GUITAR!!"

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