Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder Reunite For New Album ‘Get On Board’ & Share Single
Watch Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder team up for "Hooray Hooray" more than 50 years since their last collaboration.
Longtime friends Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder are teaming back up after more than 50 years since their last collaboration for a new album, Get On Board: The Songs Of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee , a tribute to the legendary Piedmont blues duo arriving via Nonesuch Records on April 22. Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder also shared a performance video for lead single “Hooray Hooray.”
Get On Board: features Taj Mahal on vocals, harmonica, guitar and piano while Ry Cooder sings and also plays guitar, mandolin and banjo. Joachim Cooder rounds out the duo on drums and bass as well as the album’s 11-tracks, which Taj and Ry selected from recordings and live performances by Terry and McGhee.
Cooder spoke about one of those recordings, the namesake of Get On Board, and the escape it provided as a kid growing up in Los Angeles.
“Down the road, away from Santa Monica. Where everything was good. ‘I have got to get out of here,’ was all I could think,” Cooder said in a press release. “What do you do, fourteen, eighteen years old? I was trapped. But that first record, Get on Board, the 10” on Folkways, was so wonderful, I could understand the guitar playing.”
Taj Mahal also began listening to the highly influential duo when he was a teenager. “I started hearing them when I was about nineteen, and I wanted to go to these coffee houses, ‘cause I heard that these old guys were playing,” he said “I knew that there was a river out there somewhere that I could get into, and once I got in it, I’d be all right. They brought the whole package for me.”
Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder are not unlike Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee in the influence they wield and the respect they garner. Harmonica player Sonny Terry and guitarist Brownie McGhee first teamed up in 1939 and their style of Piedmont blues was echoed in the mid-20th Century folk revivals of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s by artists like Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Pete Seeger and more.
The influence of Terry and McGhee also reached into the ’60s when another storied duo was forming. Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder first teamed up in 1965 — when Cooder was just 17 — forming a band called The Rising Sons. While they signed with Columbia and went into the studio, an album was never released. Although widely bootlegged, the sessions didn’t officially surface until 1992. Cooder would go on to play on Taj Mahal’s 1968 self-titled debut album, which influenced generations of artists up to the present. Taj Mahal marked the duo’s last collaboration.
“We’ve been doing this a while,” Ry Cooder said. “Perhaps we’ve earned the right to bring it back. Taj Mahal added. “We’re now the guys that we aspired toward when we were starting out. Here we are now … old timers. What a great opportunity, to really come full circle.”
Watch Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder reunite on “Hooray Hooray” also check out a trailer video for Get On Board below:
Get On Board: The Songs of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee Tracklist:
- My Baby Done Changed the Lock on the Door
- The Midnight Special
- Hooray Hooray
- Deep Sea Diver
- Pick a Bale of Cotton
- Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
- What a Beautiful City
- Pawn Shop Blues
- Cornbread, Peas, Black Molasses
- Packing Up Getting Ready to Go
- I Shall Not Be Moved
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