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The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.
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The Rising Sons - The Roots of Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal

They were a short-lived band that released just one single before breaking up. But the legend of the Rising Sons has continued to rise. Small wonder: the group served as the launching pad for a pair of young musicians who grew up to become two of the world’s most adventurous and celebrated musical explorers.The Rising Sons were formed in Los Angeles in 1965 by 17-year-olds Ryland Cooder and Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, better known as Taj Mahal, along with guitarist Jesse Lee Kincaid, drummer Ed Cassidy and bassist Gary Marker. Cassidy left soon after (he went on to become a founding member of the band Spirit) and was replaced by Kevin Kelley. Cooder sang and played six- and 12-string ...
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Music Review: King Biscuit Boy - Mouth of Steel

Mouth of Steel marks the return of Canada’s legendary bluesman King Biscuit Boy to recording after an unfortunate 10-year absence. Biscuit, also known as Richard Newell, of Hamilton, Ont., apprenticed with Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins and served with the Canadian blues band Crowbar before striking out on his own. His confident comeback album ably showcases his gutsy voice and mournful harmonica style. The piano boogie of “Route 90” and the Latin-tinged instrumental “Necromonica” display his considerable talents and those of his skilful session players. The album’s real gem is “Done Everything I Can,” on which Biscuit bends harmonica notes as soulfully as he contorts his own gravelly vocals. Mouth ...
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Feature Article: Taj Mahal - Bluesman on a mission

Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, better known as Taj Mahal, is an American music treasure. A self-taught singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Mahal has done more to stretch and redefine blues music than any other artist past or present. Over the course of his over 50 year career, he has taken the blues and fused it with the sounds of the Caribbean, Africa, the South Pacific and beyond.This diverse, melting-pot approach has puzzled some listeners while making Mahal a hero to lovers of eclectic roots music. “Here’s the thing, plain and simple,” music blogger Miles Mellough once wrote about the man, “Taj Mahal has always been a conundrum; a man who is capable of mirroring many th...
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