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A Taj Mahal Slide Show and Playlist

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Some folks retain their status as great musicians and, at the same time, transcend to another level. That status — call it a national treasure — generally has to do with embodying history and representing something beyond just the excellence of their musicianship. One name that comes to mind is Dr. John. Bob Dylan is another. I would argue that Ry Cooder, who played on Taj Mahal’s first album, is in that class as well. There are others.

Mahal — Henry Saint Clair Fredericks — is one such national treasure. Above is a short and I hope representative playlist. Below is a slideshow.

Photo: Photo: Jason McELweenie

It’s interesting to hear Mahal team with Gregg Allman on “Statesboro Blues.” It was, of course, a huge hit for The Allman Brothers. It also is on Mahal’s first album, where it is credited to Blind Willie McTell.

Another second interesting point is the the story behind the use of “katy” in the song “She Caught the Katy.”

My brother sent me this:

The Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (reporting mark MKT) is a former Class I railroad company in the United States, with its last headquarters in Dallas. Established in 1865 under the name Union Pacific Railway, Southern Branch, it came to serve an extensive rail network in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. In 1988, it merged with the Missouri Pacific Railroad and is now part of Union Pacific Railroad.

In its earliest days the MKT was commonly referred to as “the K-T”, which was its stock exchange symbol; this common designation soon evolved into “the Katy”.

The Katy was the first railroad to enter Texas from the north. Eventually the Katy’s core system would grow to link Parsons, Fort Scott, Junction City, Olathe, and Kansas City, Kansas; Kansas City, Joplin, Columbia, Jefferson City, and St. Louis, Missouri; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, Temple, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Galveston, Texas. An additional mainline between Fort Worth and Salina, Kansas, was added in the 1980s after the collapse of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad; this line was operated as the Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Railroad (OKKT).

At the end of 1970, MKT operated 2623 miles of road and 3765 miles of track.

The blues lives  because it talks about everyday things. It also lives because of people like Taj Mahal.

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