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Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder join forces for their first new album together in 57 years

Ry Cooder (left) and Taj Mahal
(Image credit: Gary Miller/Getty Images, Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Before Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder became legendary electric guitar players with incredible, eclectic discographies, they were bandmates. 

In the mid-1960s, the two cut their teeth in an L.A.-based band called the Rising Sons. Though the group gigged relentlessly in the area, signed to Columbia Records and won some high-profile admirers, their sole album (recorded in 1965) remained unreleased until 1992.

Now, 57 years later, Mahal and Cooder have reunited for a new album, Get On Board: The Songs Of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee.

Featuring Cooder on vocals, guitar, mandolin and banjo, Mahal on vocals, harmonica, guitar, and piano, and Ry's son Joachim Cooder on drums and bass, the Piedmont blues covers album is set for an April 22 release via Nonesuch Records. 

You can check out its first single – a rollicking version of Hooray Hooray that features Ry Cooder on mandolin and vocals, Mahal on harmonica and vocals, and Joachim Cooder on percussion – below.

In a statement, Cooder said that Terry and McGhee's music transported him “Down the road, away from Santa Monica, where everything was good" as a teenager.

"‘I have got to get out of here,’ was all I could think," he elaborated. "What do you do, fourteen, eighteen years old? I was trapped. But that first record, Get On Board, the 10” on Folkways, was so wonderful, I could understand the guitar playing.”

“I started hearing them [Terry and McGhee] when I was about 19, and I wanted to go to these coffee houses, ‘cause I heard that these old guys were playing," Mahal shared. "I knew that there was a river out there somewhere that I could get into, and once I got in it, I’d be all right. They brought the whole package for me.”

You can check out the cover art and track list of Get On Board: The Songs Of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee below.

To preorder the album, stop by Nonesuch's website.

The cover of Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder's forthcoming album, Get On Board: The Songs Of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

(Image credit: Nonesuch Records)

Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder – Get On Board: The Songs Of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee:

1. My Baby Done Changed The Lock On The Door
2. The Midnight Special
3. Hooray Hooray
4. Deep Sea Diver
5. Pick A Bale Of Cotton
6. Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
7. What A Beautiful City
8. Pawn Shop Blues
9. Cornbread, Peas, Black Molasses
10. Packing Up Getting Ready To Go
11. I Shall Not Be Moved

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.