Mastered from Original Sources!
This item not eligible for any further discount offers!
Previously unreleased late 1990s recordings! Taj Mahal, loose and casual in informal recording sessions with peers. Taj performs with guest artists: John Dee Holeman, Cool John Ferguson, Cootie Stark and Algia Mae Hinton.
The blues live on because the blues give people life, not the other way around. Talk about the blues with Grammy winning singer-songwriter and composer Taj Mahal, or Tim Duffy, founder of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, and you'll quickly understand how deeply they grasp this. So it's no surprise that their shared love of blues has created a special vinyl-only album release that's got the loose, easy feel of a porch-sitting guitar strum, sipping sweet tea on a warm summer day.
Labor of Love comprises recordings made by Tim Duffy, hanging out with Taj and other artists in a Houston hotel room and during visits to the Music Maker Relief Foundation headquarters in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
Taj and Tim first connected in the mid-1990s as Tim was establishing the foundation. The foundation is dedicated to preserving Southern roots music by directly supporting senior artists in need, while documenting their music and sharing their stage and recording talents with the world.
A CD collection released by the foundation featuring Music Maker artists caught Taj's attention. Tim invited Taj to his place in rural Pinnacle, N.C., where he hung out with several of the artists. Taj loved how they played and sang, but he especially loved "getting to know their lives and how they made things work."
Not much time passed before a performing tour was launched, with Taj as the headliner. Meanwhile, Tim, sensing an incredibly rich opportunity, was hauling along with the tour, high-end recording gear. He set it up in hotel rooms hoping to capture an impromptu session. One night in Houston, magic happened. A few senior bluesmen, Tim, Taj and the daughter of Katie Mae, immortalized in the Lightin' Hopkins classic "Katie Mae Blues" hung out together in a hotel room in Houston. Taj picked up an acoustic guitar and started in on classic tunes "Stack-O-Lee," "Walking Blues," and more. The tape was rolling.
During the time of the tour, Taj was also visiting during hang-out, barbecue and recording sessions at Music Maker's new North Carolina headquarters in Hillsborough. When the music got going, Taj would play some piano, bass, harp, banjo, mandolin and whatever else was needed.
Now is the time for these immortalized sessions to be heard. So here they are on a solid piece of wax. And what wax it is a full-on 200-gram vinyl Analogue Productions masterpiece plated and pressed at Quality Record Pressings, maker of the world's best-sounding LPs. Packaged in a Stoughton Printing tip-on gatefold jacket. You won't find a more intimate portrayal of Taj as a freewheeling, fun-loving, always-in-the-pocket sideman.
Analogue Productions uses the original tapes and works with only the best mastering studios. Albums are plated and pressed at the world's best pressing plant on virgin vinyl with unmatched quality, as AP uses meticulous test pressing evaluation and quality control. Analogue uses the highest-quality jackets and rice paper inner sleeves and issues Limited Edition albums, meaning less than 1,000 records per stamper, released in limited quantities.
"What we have here is magic: classic blues tunes - 'Stagger Lee,' 'My Creole Bell,' 'Mistreated Blues,' 'Zanzibar,' 'John Henry' and more - treated with such love and wit and heartache and (to use a tired term that's appropriate here) authenticity. Few field-hand recordings are drenched with this much sweat. And none of those field-hand recordings (few live or studio recordings, period) sound so vivid." - Fred Kaplan, Stereophile.com, March 6, 2017
200g Virgin Vinyl
Mastered from Original Sources
Meticulous Test Pressing Evaluation & Quality Control
Plated & Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
Less Than 1000 Records Per Stamper
High-Quality Jacket & Rice Paper Inner Sleeves
Stoughton Printed Tip-On Gatefold Jacket
1. Stagger Lee
2. Shortnin' break (feat. Neal Patman)
3. My Creole Belle
4. I Ain't The One You Love (feat. Algie Mae Hinton)
5. Fishing Blues
6. Mistreated Blues (feat. John Dee Holeman)
1. So Sweet (feat. Cootie Stark)
2. Spike Divers Blues
3. Hambone (feat. John Dee Holeman)
4. Walkin' Blues
5. John Henry (feat. Etta Baker)
6. Song For Brenda (feat. Cool John Ferguson)