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Taj Mahal biography

Taj Mahal Born: May 17, 1942, New York, New York

Also known as: Henry St. Claire Fredericks

Taj Mahal is an extremely versatile songwriter, musician and performer who incorporates his lifelong study of blues and other genres, as well as the music of other cultures — including Hawaiian, West African, reggae, zydeco, R&B, Latin, gospel, jazz and folk — in his songwriting and performance. Mahal has mastered many instruments, including piano, bass, guitar, banjo and harmonica, and is an expressive vocalist. His deep respect for the true roots of all musical styles is evident in his performance. Stories of legendary and obscure artists from blues and other genres as well as various musical styles and influences are often interspersed between songs. Mahal began performing as a folk singer while he was still a teenager, and during college he became part of Boston’s folk scene. He eventually moved to Los Angeles where for a short time he worked with guitar master Ry Cooder. Mahal’s loyalty to blues can be found on most of the albums he has released in his prolific career, and is particularly evident in his early, critically-acclaimed releases. Taj Mahal continues to record and perform.

Taj Mahal on record

Essential listening: “Fishin’ Blues,” “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” “Do I Love Her,” “Satisfied and Tickled Too,” “Strut,” “Hard Way”

Cakewalk into town lyrics – Taj Mahal

I had the blues, so bad one time it put my face in a permanent frown
You know I’m feeling so much better, I could cakewalk1 into town

Honey, I woke up this mornin’ feelin’ so good, you know I laid back down again
Throw your big leg over me mama, I might not feel this good again

My baby, my baby, I do love the way she walks
And when my woman gets sleepy, I love the way she baby-talks

My work is getting scarce, oh baby, my work it done got hard,
I spend my whole day stealin’ chickens Honey from the rich folks yard

I would love to take a picnic in the country and stay all day
I wouldn’t do nothing but while my blues away

I had the blues so bad one time it put my face in a permanent frown
You know I’m feelin’ so much better I could cakewalk into town