This set pairs two of Taj Mahal
's latter period Columbia albums on a single disc. 1973's Oooh So Good 'N Blues
was reissued with 1972's Recycling the Blues on Wounded Bird in 2007, and Mo' Roots
has not been issued on CD in the United States before. That said, there are a couple of solid reasons that this purchase -- even if you made the previous one -- is a superior choice. First, it showcases two recordings from a transitional period in Mahal
's work rather than two blues recordings back to back. Mo' Roots
, recorded in 1974, reveals his Caribbean roots and his use of reggae fused with American blues for the first time, making this album a historical necessity. Added to 1973's Oooh So Good 'N Blues
practicing the acoustic blues medium at its zenith, making his transition a fresh listening experience in the 21st century. The second reason is simply BGO's presentation: the remastering is terrific with warm, full sound that picks up the detail. Add this to a killer booklet with an excellent historical liner essay by John Tobler
, and it lays to waste the budget Wounded Bird presentation. These are two recordings best heard together, not separately.