Taj Mahal


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Brothers was the soundtrack to a seldom-viewed film of the same name, based on experiences of African-American activists George Jackson and Angela Davis (though different names were used by the movie's characters). Like many soundtracks, it was a side project (his last studio album had come out less than two months before) that few would expect to be on the same levels as his usual catalog. The songs are in the mode that Mahal was usually immersed in during the mid-1970s: bluesy, low-key tunes with a lot of Caribbean influence, particularly in the steel drums. The songs are pleasant but not especially ear-catching, exuding a languorous but streetwise feel. The most sensuous traits of Taj's voice come to the fore on "Brother's Doin' Times," one of the bluesiest and hence more satisfying tracks. Soundtracks often give artists license to dig into styles with which they're not usually associated, and Mahal did so here with the percussive chant "Free the Brothers." Less impressively, the instrumental passages dominating other tracks are unremarkable sweet background music with echoes of jazz fusion.

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