For Taj Mahal (born Henry St. Clair Fredericks), the blues have always been a mutable feast. These two CDs come from his early years at Columbia, when his LPs zigzagged between country funk, electric-combo grind and the truly heavy breath of Mahal's famous four tubas band. These recordings are outtakes (including a 10-track live show from 1970). They are also fantastic, further evidence of the progressive verve and rugged poignance with which Mahal, at 70, still messes with cliché and orthodoxy.
Listen to 'The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal 1969-1973':