Taj Mahal And Ry Cooder On Reuniting After Over 50 Years
Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder have spoken to Mojo magazine about Get On Board, their new album which represents their first recordings together for over 50 years.
Taj Mahal laughed, “We’re the old timers now! We’ve been around long enough to come full circle and create a project like this with a front porch, back porch, relaxed feel… showing what it’s like to be reinspired by what started us out in the first place.”
Get On Board is a collection of songs by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, blues players who inspired Mahal and Cooder as young musicians. Cooder remembered going to gigs by the blues greats: “Sonny and Brownie would walk through the crowd to the stage of the Ash Grove [famed folk club on LA’s Melrose Avenue], one of them was blind, the other crippled, and just that walk was a performance. They’d sit on stools and belt it out. You could study Sonny with his harmonica technique and Brownie with his guitar technique – it was all there to be learned if you could.”
Mahal and Cooder played together as teenagers in the mid-60s as The Rising Sons and were signed to Columbia Records. The group imploded before they achieved the success many predicted for them and their sole album was shelved until a 1992 release. The guitarists went their separate ways until Cooder played on Mahal’s 1968 debut album, and then separated again until Get On Board. Mahal explains how the new album came about, “I got a bunch of instruments and took the train down to LA. Every day we played, and inched back to a place where we could see something was happening for us.” Cooder goes on to explain why Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee’s songs were perfect for the new project, suggesting the songs, “Would hang together: likeable songs, not obscure, played on guitar and harmonica. Perfect for us.”
Get On Board is available to pre-order here from Nonesuch Records.