Album Reviews

Taj Mahal

Labor of Love

Artist:     Taj Mahal

Album:     Labor of Love

Label:     Acoustic Sounds

Release Date:     12/16/2016


If you visit Taj Mahal’s website, you’ll be greeted with a black and white image of the Blues Hall of Famer in a Hawaiian print shirt, guitar in hand, with big lettering that says “A National Treasure.” That welcoming statement is everything, summing up the two time Grammy winner and American Music Lifetime Music Achievement Award winner. While nothing more needs to be said, there is plenty more to be heard.

Mahal’s 47th (no, not a typo) album, Labor of Love, features some of the blues musician’s greatest tunes. It consists of solo favorites from almost twenty years ago, and collaborations with the Music Maker Relief Foundation artists.

He’s a storyteller who incorporates his deep musical history in every note that’s played. “Stack-O-Lee” is timeless, really… talking about that “bad man.” Collaborations on Labor of Love include “John Henry” with the late Etta Baker. Baker’s Piedmont blues experiences flood the listeners with a chilling journey into the Mississippi Delta.

This stripped down release matches that photo of Taj Mahal on his website- laid back, at ease, welcoming listeners to pull up a chair and leave their cares at the door. Put it on, and take some time to learn more about this iconic man. There’s so much history here.

-Brenda Hillegas

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