The Real Thing

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
Taj Mahal followed up Giant Step/De Ole Folks at Home 1969 with another double-disc concert platter whose title pretty much sums up the contents. The Real Thing 1971 is drawn from a mid-February run of shows at the Fillmore East in New York City where he, Spencer Davis, the Chambers Brothers, and Roberta Flack, among others, shared the bill. Mahal vocals/banjo/guitar/harmonica/arranger/fife/harp/steel guitar/ harmonica is supported by an interesting extended aggregate with a brass section consisting of Joseph Daley tuba/horn/trombone, Bob Stewart horn, and a pair of former Charles Mingus bandmembers, Earl McIntyre horn and Howard Johnson horn. While at times they tend to...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
Taj Mahal followed up Giant Step/De Ole Folks at Home 1969 with another double-disc concert platter whose title pretty much sums up the contents. The Real Thing 1971 is drawn from a mid-February run of shows at the Fillmore East in New York City where he, Spencer Davis, the Chambers Brothers, and Roberta Flack, among others, shared the bill. Mahal vocals/banjo/guitar/harmonica/arranger/fife/harp/steel guitar/ harmonica is supported by an interesting extended aggregate with a brass section consisting of Joseph Daley tuba/horn/trombone, Bob Stewart horn, and a pair of former Charles Mingus bandmembers, Earl McIntyre horn and Howard Johnson horn. While at times they tend to overpower the usually intimate nature of the performances, that is certainly not the case for the majority of the arrangements. The opener, "Fishin' Blues," is a solo with Mahal accompanying himself on banjo. "Ain't Gwine to Whistle Dixie Any Mo'" is significantly lengthened from the form found on Giant Step 1968 as it stretches nearly nine minutes and allows plenty of room for interaction, offering up a spirited fife interlude from Mahal. In addition to providing an overview from his back catalog, The Real Thing contains a few new compositions. The full ensemble gets a workout on the funky "Sweet Mama Janisse" and the toe-tappin' rural flavor of the instrumental "Tom and Sally Drake" is lightly augmented by a sole tuba -- presumably that of Johnson. Sleepy John Estes' "Diving Duck Blues" arguably submits the most successful incorporation of brass, sporting a driving, full-throttle rhythm and soulful interpretation. The 2000 CD reissue was extended to fit the entire live set, adding the previously unavailable "She Caught the Katy and Left Me a Mule to Ride," matching the intensity of the sizeable bluesy, closing jam "You Ain't No Street Walker Mama, Honey But I Do Love They Way You Strut."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/5/2000
  • Label: Sony Mod - Afw Line
  • UPC: 074646585924
  • Catalog Number: 65859
  • Sales rank: 17,720

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Taj Mahal Primary Artist, Banjo, Guitar, Harmonica, Fife, Harp, Vocals, national steel guitar, Chromatic Harmonica
Bob Stewart Horn
Howard Johnson Horn
John Hall Guitar
John Simon Keyboards
Joseph Daley Tuba, Horn, Valve Trombone
Kwasi "Rocky" Dzidzornu Percussion
Earl McIntyre Horn
Billy Rich Bass
Bill Rich Electric Bass
Greg Thomas Drums
Technical Credits
Taj Mahal Arranger
Buffy Sainte-Marie Composer
Donovan Composer
Stanley Crouch Liner Notes
Yank Rachell Composer
David Rubinson Producer
Bruce Steinberg Cover Design
Bob Irwin Producer
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Vic Anesini Mastering
Lily Lew Packaging Manager
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Happy Blues

    My review title seems to be an oxymoron, but, if you listen to this disc, you will agree with me. These songs have a feel good vibe to them. Taj and his group owe as much to The Band or Paul Butterfield as to Muddy Waters and the Chicago blues scene.Taj is a better singer than Butterfield although his guitarist is not in the Bloomfield-Bishop category. John Simon, who helped produce The Band's firsst albums, is a back-up musician here and that could explain why I hear some parallels.The final jam is a bit long but that was the fashion of the times and I have heard worse. I think this CD might be a better place to enter the Mahal canon than A Giant Step/De Old Folks at Home CD, which I also own. I plan to purchase more Taj Mahal soon. PS.Note the running times of some of the songs are wrong. The total running time is 66:56. 4 1/2 stars

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews