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Taj Mahal: Music Fuh Ya' (Musica Para Tu)

Album Notes

Though an expectedly eclectic mix of blues, calypso, Caribbean music, and bits of reggae, disco, and other pop forms, Music Fuh Ya (Musica Para Tu) was not one of Mahal's more inspired outings. No one could criticize Mahal for lack of ambition in his efforts to integrate more styles into the folk-blues blend at the core of his music. But the surfeit of instrumentation, particularly the steel drums, were sometimes distractions more than enhancements, resulting in a forced, slick party atmosphere to cuts like "You Got It." Something like a cover of the blues-folk classic "Freight Train" plays much more to Mahal's strengths, but the trimmings of jazzy sax and steel drums aren't necessary when Taj alone could do a more convincing version. On "Baby, You're My Destiny," he gets more into the ingratiating Leon Redbone old-time/ragtime mood, and "The Four Mills Brothers," a nod to old jazz-pop vocal bands, works better than most cuts. He uses reggae (on "Honey Babe") and disco (on "Curry") rhythms to lesser effect, though. ~ Richie Unterberger


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