No one knew quite what to make of this L.A. band in the mid-'60s, who unbelievably included Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, Kevin Kelley (later in the Byrds), and even Ed Cassidy (briefly) in the same lineup.
They only managed one single on Columbia before breaking up in 1966, but they also got to lay down an album's worth of unreleased material, which was finally issued over 25 years later.
Their languid, bluesy, folksy sort of sound anticipated future recordings by outfits like Moby Grape, Buffalo Springfield, the Grateful Dead, and even the country-rock Byrds.
Their lone single and unreleased album form the core of this 22-track reissue, which features imaginative rearrangements of standards like "Corrine, Corrina," an obscure Dylan cover ("Walkin' Down the Line"), rocking originals, a confident performance of Goffin/King's "Take a Giant Step" (later Mahal's signature tune), and nifty guitar interplay between Mahal and Cooder throughout.
Overall, it sounds a lot more like it belongs in 1967-1968 than 1965-1966. This archival release has value above and beyond historical interest.
by Richie Unterberger
1.Statesboro Blues (W. McTell) - 2:23
2.If The River Was Whiskey (Divin' Duck Blues) (Sleepy John Estes) - 2:41
3.By And By (Poor Me) (C. Patton) - 3:31
4.Candy Man (Rev. G. Davis) - 2:04
5.2:10 Train (L. Albertano) - 4:09
6.Let The Good Times Roll (S. Goodman, L. Lee) - 2:43
7..44 Blues (Willie Dixon) - 3:22
8.11th Street Overcrossing (Jesse Lee Kincaid) - 2:12
9.Corrin, Corrina (Traditional) - 2:55
10.Tulsa County (P. Polland) - 2:42
11.Walkin' Down The Line (B. Dylan) - 2:13
12.The Girl With Green Eyes (Jesse Lee Kincaid) - 2:14
13.Sunny's Dream (Jesse Lee Kincaid) - 3:01
14.Spanish Lace Blues (Jesse Lee Kincaid) - 2:12
15.The Devil's Got My Woman (S. James) - 3:05
16.Take A Giant Step (G. Goffin, C. King) - 2:54
17.Flyin' So High (Jesse Lee Kincaid) - 3:05
18.Dust My Broom (R. Johnson) - 3:03
19.Last Fair Deal Gone Down (R. Johnson) - 2:38
20.Baby, What You Want Me To Do? (J. Reed) - 2:54
21.Statesboro Blues (Version 2) (W. McTell) - 2:24
22.I Got A Little (Jesse Lee Kincaid) - 2:07
*Taj Mahal - Vocals, Harmonica, Guitar, Piano
*Ry Cooder - Vocals, 6-string, 12-string, Slide, Bottleneck Guitars, Mandolin
*Jesse Lee Kincaid - Vocals, Guitar
*Gary Marker - Bass
*Kevin Kelley - Drums, Percussion
1968 Taj Mahal - The Natch'l Blues
1969 Fusion - Border Town