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Friday, November 18, 2005 

lovin' the natch'l bluez

It's early 2001 and I've decided to shop at the only record shop in Americus. (Music Mart for those playing the home game). I've heard the bluegrass stylings of Leftover Salmon before. They're a Colorado jam-band and/but they've got some significant musical abilities....and apparently they know how to "pick" cover songs. I'd enjoyed their high-energy take on traditional tunes and when I saw a copy of their album they'd done a few years prior in Nashville with some significant guests. I plunk down the cash for the cd. Little did I know how much this cd and at least one song would be a constant fixture in my life.

The cd was "The Nashville Sessions" and it's just a fanatastic example of what acoustic music can be. Very Power, Happy, and Jubilent. Some of the bluegrass greats are on this record. Sam Bush, The McCoury family (Del and Ronnie), Sally Van Meter, Jerry Douglas and Bela Fleck. Also Lucinda Williams, Waylon Jennings, and Taj Mahal .

The song "Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes" was the second song on the Nashville cd. It starts with Taj's directions to Leftover on how to treat the song, its rhythm and its rhyme. The picking is up-beat and consistent and Taj sings it in a positive tone. He's got the girl and he's reflecting on that and sharing his love. Singing her praises to the world. The rest of the cd is fantastic and well worth tracking down. Download Leftover Salmon with Taj Mahal - "Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes". Buy The Nashville Sessions from Leftover or Amazon.com.

The original track by Taj was on his Phantom Blues cd and its somewhat different from the later cover version. It's slower. More methodical. It's like he hasn't got the girl yet but he's singing, dreaming, like he has, like he WILL get it. More yearning. MORE powerful. Perhaps, he knows her. He has pictures. There's some sort of relationship, but they're apart....for now, if there's ever been a connection, but he believes in a lasting 'thing' between them that he's gonna reminence upon. Download Taj Mahal's "Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes". Buy Phantom Blues from Amazon.

Taj's record company(s) thinks just as highly as I do about the track because it's featured on several recent "greatest hits" type compilations which can and probably should be sought out. It was also used cinematically, a topic which will be covered in the near future (hopefully).

In 2004, Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon used some downtime from his regular gig and made a trek down south to play some solo shows with Georgia band Moonshine Still, out of Maconga. Vince played the song once during the tour and played it with the full band in Athens at the Georgia Theatre (a spot where one should never buy draft beer unless horrific hangovers are exactly what's desired - note to the bar/theater owners - Clean the Taps!) Download Moonshine Still w/ Vince Herman - Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes (11/13/04).

There's a site on the interweb that has concert records for lots of independent rock and jam bands and a recording of the entire MSS/VH show is available there.

Taj Mahal is a fantastic philanthropist and real supporter of roots music. He can also cook better than your mother. He deserves to be heard. Enjoy.

Solid album..haven't busted it out in awhile now, but need to.

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  • I'm JA
  • From Americus, Georgia, United States
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