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Taj Mahal & The Phantom Blues Band live at the Wolf Den-Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT on August 20, 1998

Taj Mahal brought his Phantom Blues Band to the Wolf Den Thursday night and thoroughly satisfied his large crowd of devotees as well as converted some new ones. His unique blend of blues and everything else is always interesting, always fresh, and has something for everyone. Taj is the ultimate showman because he brings to the stage the personality of a man who just completely enjoys what heís doing. Heís also a perfectionist who spent well over an hour getting the sound check just right.

After 8 Grammy nominations, Taj Mahal finally won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Recording this year. Itís an honor that heís immensely proud of and he took pleasure in mentioning it to the crowd, which not only filled the Wolf Den to capacity but also spilled out several rows deep into the casino.

The show ran about 95 minutes in all and included selections from throughout Tajís long recording history. Songs like "Further On Up The Road" and "She Took The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride" sounded great alongside the newer "Senorí Blues." "She Took The KatyÖ" featured an excellent example of Tajís harmonica prowess. The showman in him had him egging on the crowd to applaud louder during the horn solo in "Down Home Girl" so that "theyíd (The Texacali Horns) have to play louder." Another highlight of the set was a great version of "Here In The Dark" which just gave the entire band a workout. Even the staff at the Wolf Den was overcome by the energy of the performance and was frequently seen dancing along as much as their jobs would allow them to. Now thatís a concert!

The show didnít end when the concert did because Taj Mahal took a seat in the Wolf Den and gleefully met, chatted, kissed, took pictures with, and signed everything from napkins to CD booklets to battered old album covers. He even autographed some broken remnants of a piano heíd once played long ago. Now thatís devoted fans! Weíre already anxiously awaiting his return to Connecticut.