First listen: Shortnin’ Bread from Taj Mahal’s Labor of Love

With blues master Taj Mahal‘s new vinyl-only release Labor of Love (Acoustic Sounds) hitting stores next week, we thought you might enjoy a little taste of “Shortnin’ Bread” that pairs some plucky banjo from Mahal with crisp, whooping vocals and some terrific blowing from harmonica player Neal Pattman. Mahal’s 47th album, Labor of Love is a collection of songs actually recorded back in 1998 around a 42-date tour with Music Maker Relief Foundation artists; none of these songs have ever been previously released (although a similar version of this one can also be heard on Music Maker’s 2014 20th anniversary collection), with four of the tracks also never having been recorded by Mahal in any other form.

We’ll have a review of the full album soon, but in the meantime, you’re going to want to spend some time enjoying this classy country blues take on a traditional favorite that’s accurately described by Music Maker founder Tim Duffy in the album’s liner notes as “just amazing” and “as good as anything that was on wax in the 20s and 30s”.

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