Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder - Get on Board: The Songs of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder - Get on Board: The Songs of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

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Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder Reunite After a Half-Century with New Album of Music from Two Piedmont Blues Masters: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee!

Nearly sixty years after they first played together, Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal, longtime friends and collaborators, reunite with an album of music from two Piedmont blues masters who have inspired them all their lives: Get on Board: The Songs of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. With Taj on vocals, harmonica, guitar, and piano and Cooder on vocals, guitar, mandolin, and banjo – joined by Joachim Cooder on drums and bass – the duo recorded eleven songs drawn from recordings and live performances by Terry and McGhee, who they both first heard as teenagers in California.

Mahal and Cooder originally joined forces in 1965, forming The Rising Sons when Cooder was just seventeen. The band was signed to Columbia Records but an album was not released and the group disbanded a year later. The 1960s recording sessions, widely bootlegged, were finally issued officially in 1992. Get On Board is Mahal and Cooder's first recording together since then.

Harmonica player Sonny Terry and guitarist Brownie McGhee, both originally from the southeastern United States, had active solo careers as well as collaborating with some of the most celebrated musicians of their time. But they were best known for their forty-five-year partnership, which began in 1939 and included mesmerizing live performances around the world and numerous acclaimed recordings.

Explaining where Terry and McGhee took him musically, Cooder says, "Down the road, away from Santa Monica. Where everything was good. ‘I have got to get out of here,' was all I could think. 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." Mahal adds, "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. 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."

"We've been doing this a while," Cooder shares. "Perhaps we've earned the right to bring it back." Mahal concludes. "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."


  1. My Baby Done Changed the Lock on the Door
  2. The Midnight Special
  3. Hooray Hooray
  4. Deep Sea Diver
  5. Pick a Bale of Cotton
  6. Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
  7. What a Beautiful City
  8. Pawn Shop Blues
  9. Cornbread, Peas, Black Molasses
  10. Packing Up Getting Ready to Go
  11. I Shall Not Be Moved