Taj Mahal – The Natch'l Blues (Pure Pleasure)
- Release details
Taj Mahal's second album, recorded in the spring and fall of 1968, begins, similar to his first, with a purified Mississippi pidelta-style blues, but is a little more powerful (partly thanks to Al Kooper on the organ) before developing into a much fuller sound with songs like "She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride" and "The Cuckoo".
The latter in particular puts crisp electric and acoustic guitars in the foreground, while Gary Gilmore plays the bass almost like a lead instrument - a blues musician's answer to John Entwistle. Perhaps most remarkable, however, are the two self-written closing tracks "You Don't Miss Your Water ('Til Your Well Runs Dry)" and "Ain't That A Lot Of Love", when Taj Mahal enters the territory of Otis Redding in the field of soul. This is especially noticeable on "You Don't Miss Your Water", which achieves a gospel-like intensity, including a horn arrangement by Jesse Ed Davis in Stax / Volt style, which sounds more real than real. In contrast, "Ain't That A Lot Of Love" is driven by a hard electric guitar sound and merciless bass, which sounds more like a more pressing version of the bass line in "Gimme Some Lovin'" by the Spencer Davis Group.
This re-release of "The Natch'l Blues" contains a trio of bonus tracks: an interpretation of "The Cuckoo" at a faster tempo with a distinctive lead guitar, the electric, slow plaintive "New Stranger Blues" with a great guitar played like a mandolin, and the rocking instrumental "Things Are Gonna Work Out Fine", which is a stunning example of Davis' electric lead guitar and Taj Mahal's virtuosity on the harmonica.
A1 Good Morning Miss Brown
A3 I Ain'T Gonna Let Nobody Steal My Jellyroll
A4 Going Up To The Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue
A5 Done Changed My Way Of Living
A6 The Cuckoo (Alternate Version)
B1 She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride
B2 The Cuckoo
B3 You Don'T Miss Your Water ('Til Your Well Runs Dry)
B4 Ain'T That A Lot Of Love
B5 New Stranger Blues
B6 Things Are Gonna Work Out Fine