Classic Rock Corner

The Great Taj Mahal, Still Whistlin' the Blues

It's been a long time so it's hard to remember exactly, but some time in the winter of 1970-71, Taj Mahal played the Houston Music Hall. Between 1968 and 1971, he had put out five albums and become a staple of the hippie music scene.

Yet with his soulful reinterpretations, permutations and homages to old-school blues, the ebullient entertainer from Massachusetts -- look it up, he was named the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Official Blues Artist in 2006 -- was running counter to the main trends in popular music of the time.

This was no Led Zeppelin or Eric Clapton taking blues toward metal, turning blues into modern rock, this was a throwback, or as his 1971 double album recorded live at the Filmore East calls it, The Real Thing.

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