Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Taj Mahal: Taj Mahal [Columbia, 1968]
The former Henry Saint Claire Fredericks wasn't just the most prominent young African-American of the blues revival. He was its most credible voice, and more--forty years later, he's clearly an original stylist already in bloom. Avidly and affably fronting a superb Ry Cooder-Jesse Ed Davis band, Mahal does every standard here proud. Sleepy John Estes's "Leaving Trunk" he now owns. Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues" he showed the world. The original "E Z Rider" he could have found on an old 78.