Audiophile releases often document polished performances, sometimes to the point of fussiness, so reissuing Recycling the Blues might seem an odd choice. The live performances are deliberately rough around the edges while some studio cuts have a casual air. And even by Taj Mahal’s standards Recycling is diffuse, changing styles almost as often as Taj changes instruments. After sampling the results, however, I’m convinced that someone at ORG knows how to pick ’em. As a 45rpm record with four sides instead of two, Recycling contains inspired performances matched with impressive sonics on every side. The live cuts do a fine job of capturing the timbre of the instruments and the energy of a concert, especially when Taj rips into a National steel-bodied guitar solo on “Bound to Love Me Some” and tears into the banjo on “Ricochet.” Like all the studio cuts, the classic “Cakewalk into Town” is improved, with a crisp and remarkably realistic sound. Both songs with the Pointer Sisters are a delight, and the upright bass on “Texas Woman Blues” startlingly clear and sharp. At times I wish “Gitano Negro” had higher recording levels, but again the timbre of the steel-bodied guitar comes through nicely.