Rising Sons: Ry Cooder (vocals, 6- & 12-string guitars, mandolin, slide guitar, dobro); Jesse Lee Kincaid (vocals, guitar); Taj Mahal (vocals, harmonica, guitar piano); Gary Marker (bass); Kevin Kelley (drums, percussion).
Compilation producers: Amy Herot, Bob Irwin.
Original tracks recorded in Hollywood, California between September 9, 1965 and May 18, 1966. New Taj Mahal vocal tracks for "Dust My Broom," "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" and "Baby, What You Want Me To Do?" recorded in New York, New York on June 19, 1992. Includes liner notes by Marc Kirkeby.
In 1966 Ry Cooder was a young multi-instrumentalist with a keen interest in traditional American music. He met a similarly inclined singer called Taj Mahal, with whom he formed the Rising Sons. Countless British groups had previously combined blues with Beatles-influenced rock, but such a combination was a surprising rarity in mid-'60s California. On their sole album, the Rising Sons delve deeper than those groups for their influences, bypassing the Chicago Blues sound in favor of traditional Delta country blues.
They cover staples of the Delta repertoire like "Candyman, "The Devil's Got My Woman" and "32-20," where Cooder's nimble picking and unearthly slide mesh well with Mahal's hearty, soulful vocals. Far from revivalists, they play fast and loose with tradition--the Delta feel is offset by plenty of British Invasion-flavored rock (and "32-20" is given an Otis Redding-style treatment). The Rising Sons synthesize styles in such an effective and inventive manner that a new blues paradigm is created.
Rolling Stone (3/18/93, p.42) - 3.5 Stars - Very Good - "...These 22 rousing performances show the Rising Sons to be the missing link between Beatlemania and the late-'60s electric-blues explosion, an exciting, highly commercial proposition that missed stardom by just a hairbreath..."