I’m very pleased with how this morning’s run went so it’s time to see how ‘ol Thunder n’ Lightning hold out now for Round 2; 8k worth of more pavement pounding. And since last weekend’s double run went so well in Rochester (click HERE) I’m following the theme I established then (and, really, what other kind of music besides Da Blues would you listen to when attempting a second, faster run after a first much longer run only hours before?) and going with another Taj Mahal album, ‘Recycling the Blues and Other Related Stuff‘.
The title of this 1972 release certainly sums up the album quite well because that’s exactly what Taj had been doing for several years by this point.
The first side features laidback in-the-studio work with some nice gospel-inflected back-up from the Pointer Sisters and some dude named Howard Johnson (no shit) on “tuba and hand claps” *. The second (and probably the preferable) side offers seven tracks that take a good look at Mahal’s live stage show.
The first cut, ‘Cakewalk into Town‘ is adorned with Howard Johnson’s tuba and some handclaps. Nobody but Taj could have pulled that off. Sure you see great guitarists like Mark Knopfler use steel guitars as album cover ornaments, and Johnny Winter even cut a song with one, but Taj really knows what to do with one. In fact, whether it’s an upright bass, banjo, or whatever, he will get incredible sounds out of it. Brian Jones move over.
The album’s version of ‘Sweet Home Chicago‘ is a simply definitive version, dare I say it, blowing away the track we have of Robert Johnson. Why this song and this version of this song isn’t Chicago’s theme song instead of The Chairman’s is pretty obvious. The Pointer Sisters’ background vocals are perfect. Ditto on ‘Texas Woman Blues‘, but the striking aspect of this song is the listener’s recognition of how Taj has changed the texture of his voice from an edgy gravelly sound in the previous songs to a rich warm baritone.
So with this wet run in the log, that makes for 32k of running accomplished today. Yay me! And the legs felt good throughout despite a little fatigue in the middle of this run while coming up the incline along Lakewood Rd. in Crystal Beach where they were all like: “Hills? Whaaaaaat?” Other than than I’m pretty proud of today’s “Iron effort” and the way everything (ie. my body) seems to be holding up. Taking yesterday off was definitely a smart move on my part.
Now it’s time for the Double Shower.
Definitely the highlight of “Kenya Day”.