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Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, 17 May 1940, New York City, New York, USA. The son of a West Indian jazz arranger, Taj Mahal developed his early interest in black music by studying its origins while at the University of Massachusetts. After graduating with a BA in Agriculture, he began performing in Boston clubs, before moving to the west coast in 1965. The artist was a founder member of the legendary Rising Sons, a respected folk rock group that also included guitarist Ry Cooder and Spirit drummer Ed Cassidy. Mahal resumed his solo career when the bands projected debut album was shelved. His first solo album, Taj Mahal, released in 1968, was a powerful, yet intimate, compendium of electrified country blues that introduced an early backing band of Jesse Ed Davis (guitar), Gary Gilmore (bass) and Chuck Blakwell (drums). A second album, The Natchl Blues, offered similarly excellent fare while extending his palette to include interpretations of...