Henry Saint Clair Fredericks – Taj Mahal

By Gary:

I’m in South Carolina, my resources are very limited, so I will indulge myself.  Henry Saint Clair Fredericks or Taj Mahal sings the Delta Blues, which is my passion. 

We will be talking about a Delta Blues Artist, with no hit records, no MTV videos, just great Blues.  I do realize I am a minority on my love of the Delta Blues, my wife does not care for blues at all.  This will not be a normal post, but I feel compelled to post something. 

My first introduction to Henry or Taj Mahal was in the late Sixties – when I heard Stagger Lee, I was hooked.  As I mentioned before, he does not have any “Hit” records, but he is, in my opinion a great musician, singer, writer; unpredictable and a character.

Henry Saint Clair Fredericks



 Taj Mahal 1968   Taj Mahal



Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal / Statesboro Blues /



In Germany / Stagger Lee or Stak-O-Lee /


1971 /Tomorrow will not be your Day /


Fishin’ Blues 1993 /


1997 Corrina Corrina / St Louis with the Rolling Stones /


and not with the Stones /



Filmed at Yoshi’s San Francisco Opening / Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band / Honky Tonk /



Remember, he did not have any top 40 Billboard Hits.  These are some of the songs I enjoy.

These are the songs I heard first and I was a fan.

 1968/69 / Fishin’ Blues


1968 / Corrina, Corrina


1969 / Stagger Lee


1970 / Statesboro Blues



These are some of the Songs I also enjoy!


Six Days on the Road


Sweet Home Chicago / Live


Stagger Lee with the Hula Blues Band


Stagger Lee


With Ry Cooder


Dust My Broom


Statesboro Blues


Baby What You want me to do


 With Etta James


Mocking Bird



From Senor Blues


Irresistible You (Bobby Darin Song)





Taj Mahal Biography

Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter (1942–)



May 17, 1942


University of Massachusetts


Harlem, New York


Henry Fredericks

Taj Mahal

Henry St. Clair Fredericks


Henry Saint Clair Fredericks


Taj Mahal is a Grammy Award-winning blues/world music vocalist and instrumentalist known for his trailblazing explorations of different genres.



“There was something about the blues that just full and wholly knocked me out… Instead of popular music creating me, I programmed myself for what I’m interested in.”

—Taj Mahal


Taj Mahal was born in Harlem, New York, on May 17, 1942, and established a career as one of the world’s premier blues artists. He’s explored many genres from regions around the world, including the West Indies, India and Latin America, and recorded scores of albums, including Giant StepMusic Keeps Me Together and Hanapepe Dream. A Grammy Award winner, Mahal celebrated 40 years in the biz with Maestro.


Blues/world music artist Taj Mahal was born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks in Harlem, New York, on May 17, 1942, to a musical family; his father was a jazz pianist/composer and his mother was a singer and teacher. The family moved to Springfield, Massachusetts during Fredericks’s youth, and he grew up in a rich, diverse cultural environment. A singer, he went on to learn a variety of instruments, including the piano, clarinet and harmonica, taking up the guitar and bass as well and learning blues styles.

Debut Album

He earned a degree from the University of Massachusetts in 1964, focusing on agriculture, and worked with bands, including the Rising Sons with Ry Cooder. Fredericks took on the performance name Taj Mahal after the moniker came to him in a dream, and he made his solo debut in 1968 with an album of the same name. The Natch’l Blues (1968) and Giant Step (1969) soon followed.

Acclaimed Genre Fusions

A statuesque, emotional presence onstage who feels the music wholly in his body, Mahal has become known for exploring a wide range of genres and earned a reputation as a musicologist with attention paid to the cultural origins of song, including his own Caribbean and African-American/Southern roots (captured in his song “West Indian Revelation” for instance) as well as other communities from around the world. His music has incorporated the sounds of the Pacific Isles, South Asia and West and East Africa, among others.

Mahal has released dozens of albums over the course of his career, including Happy to Be Just Like I Am (1971), Music Fuh Ya’ (Music Para Tu) (1977),Taj (1987), Dancing the Blues (1993) and Mkutano (2005). He has also recorded work for children on the Music for Little People label, such as Shake Sugaree (1988), Peace Is the World Smiling (1989) and Smilin’ Island of Song (1992).

Mahal wed Inshirah Geter in 1976 and by the ’80s had settled in Hawaii. His works influenced by his adopted home state include Sacred Island (1998) and Hanapepe Dream (2003), performing on both recordings with The Hula Blues Band.

Film and Stage

Mahal has also worked in film, appearing as an actor in Sounder (1972) and Sounder: Part Two (1976), composing the musical scores for both as well as for the 1977 film Brothers. He later made his mark on Broadway, composing a score for the 1991 play Mule Bone, written by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston decades before its contemporary stage debut.

Grammy Wins and ‘Maestro’

By 2013, Mahal had won two Grammy Awards, both for best contemporary blues album—1997’s Señor Blues and 2000’s Shoutin’ in Key: Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band Live. In 2008 he released the album Maestro, celebrating 40 years as a recording artist and working with an all-star roster that included Ben Harper, Ziggy Marley and Angélique Kidjo. Mahal followed up in 2009 with American Horizon, featuring Mexican/Californian band Los Cenzontles and Los Lobos musician David Hidalgo.



4 responses to “Henry Saint Clair Fredericks – Taj Mahal

  1. A talented dude. My band opened for him at the Whiskey Au Go Go in Hollywood in the summer of ’67 (the Summer of Love!). THOSE were the days. 🙂

  2. Wow, powerful stuff, one does not need a hit record in order to enrich the musical world. BTW I have never heard Etta do mocking bird this a first for me. Great post,I’ll be returning to this one


    You always amaze me with this unbelievable information never did I know he did the Blues that soars and soars like a 4th of July bottle ROCKET.



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