Rising Sons

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The band in 1966. From left, Taj Mahal, Jesse Lee Kincaid, Gary Marker, Ry Cooder and Kevin Kelley.

Rising Sons was a Los Angeles, California-based band founded in 1964.


The original lineup was a 17-year old Ry Cooder (vocals, six and 12-string guitar, mandolin, slide and bottleneck guitar, dobro), Taj Mahal (vocals, harmonica, guitar, piano), Gary Marker (bass), Jesse Lee Kincaid (born Nick Gerlach,[1] vocals and guitar) and Ed Cassidy (drums). Cassidy had to leave in 1965 after he injured his wrist playing an epic version of "Statesboro Blues" with the band.[2] He was replaced by Kevin Kelley.

The group was signed to Columbia Records but their only album, produced by Terry Melcher, was not issued at the time. One single, "Candy Man"/"The Devil's Got My Woman", did surface, but the group disbanded in 1966. They often played at the LA clubs The Troubadour and The Ash Grove, which burned down in 1973 and was not rebuilt. They were early contemporaries of the famous LA band The Byrds and fans often wondered, before Mr. Tambourine Man hit, which band would be the biggest success. Their recorded material became widely bootlegged and nearly three decades later was eventually released by Columbia Records under the title Rising Sons Featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder (1992). "We were the problem," remembered Marker later. "We had difficulties distilling our multiple musical agendas down to a product that would sell. We had no actual leader, no clear musical vision.... I think [Melcher] went out of his way to make us happy -- within the scope of his knowledge. He tried just about everything he could, including the live, acoustic session that produced '2:10 Train.'"[3]

After Rising Sons[edit]

Mahal went on to become a prominent solo blues/folk performer. Both Cooder and Marker spent time with Captain Beefheart's Magic Band before Cooder made his name as a session musician, recording under his own name, and scoring several soundtracks. Jesse Lee Kincaid attended California Institute of the Arts on a classical guitar scholarship and left the USA for six years in Europe. His music album, Brief Moments Full Measure, and his book, Ibiza Chronicles, were released in 2014. Cassidy founded the band Spirit and Kelley became a member of his cousin Chris Hillman's band the Byrds in 1968, playing on their seminal Sweetheart of the Rodeo album.


According to All Music, Rising Sons' "languid, bluesy, folksy sort of sound anticipated future recordings by outfits like Moby Grape, Buffalo Springfield, the Grateful Dead, and even the country-rock Byrds."[4]


  • "Candy Man"/"The Devil's Got My Woman" (1966, single, Columbia)
  • Rising Sons featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder (recorded 1966, released 1992, Columbia)


  1. ^ Fred Gerlach discography
  2. ^ Rising Sons liner notes
  3. ^ Rising Sons liner notes
  4. ^ *Rising Sons at AllMusic