May

14

 I saw Mick Taylor play at a small club in NYC last night. He is 63 years old. Rolling Stones aficionados know that the Stones most artistic and prolific years were during Taylor's tenure as the Stones second guitarist. The output during his Stones' years 1969 through 1973 include legendary tracks off Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street plus he was the main lead guitarist during 1969's live romp at Madison Square Garden that is famously captured on the album Get Yer YA YAs. I suggest listening to Can't You Hear me Knocking, Bitch and Love in Vain to a get a sense of of Taylor's dominance of slide and blues guitar paying. It stands the test of time. How do I know? The small audience was a mixture of middle aged rockers like myself plus some very knowledgeable college students that follow the Stones musicians like it was still 1973. The Stones still sell lots of records.

Like his more famous partner Keith Richards, Taylor has apparently struggled with drugs an alcohol and has many up and down battles with his demons. He looks physically worn, harried and over weight. However, the man can still play. He did a 90 minute set where he was featured at all times. He ripped cords and notes like the old days plus he sang. The audience loved him and appreciated every minute of the show. By the way, he is playing 8 shows in a row during at four day stint in NY. That must take a huge toll on a man of 63. That is dedication that few men of his age can muster.

I think the lesson in all of this is that he remains an awesome guitarist because he still loves what he does and he still studies and learns from all the old blues masters from Chicago and the deep south. He respects and pays homage to the ground-breakers of the 1940s and 1950s. Even at 63, he knows where he is going because he knows where he came from. I tell my kids about Taylor all the time. I want them to understand that success and originality rarely come easily. Its all about hard work and practice. I believe Taylor picked up a guitar at 14 or 15 and he still finds ways to wow an audience at 63. Age as they say, is all in the mind.


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