Etta Baker With Taj Mahal

I have a rule of thumb.  If someone is over 90 years old and they make an album, you have an obligation to listen to it.  It's sort of a respecting your elders thing.  This can be a daunting task if the albums by your great grandmother who still listens to music on a Victrola.  If the album is by a 91 year-old named Etta Baker, however,  it's nothing but a pleasure.  Such is the case on this underrated 2004 acoustic-blues collaboration Etta Baker With Taj Mahal, which features two aging blues guitar legends doing what they do best.

At the time of this recording the collective ages of Etta Baker and Taj Mahal equaled a whopping 153 years.  The two artists obviously didn't set out to make a career defining masterpiece on this effort.  Rather (I hate to stereotype old people but...) it sounds like an impromptu jam on one of their front porches;  a break between bridge and ice tea.  

The record is a hodgepodge that serves multiple purposes.  Of its 19 songs, six are the expected collaboration between Taj and Etta, six are slightly older solo recordings by Etta and the rest are the 1956 recordings which showcased a 43 year-old Etta Baker making her debut with passion, precision and a whole lot of joy.  It makes for a perfect introduction to this wonderful and treasured guitar player who sadly passed away in 2006 at age 93.  What a record—perfect for your break between bridge and ice tea (or any other fine parlor room occasion.)  

Etta Baker With Taj Mahal