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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6 Comments so far

  1. steve on May 14, 2012 8:59 am

    The stones have a cult following from younger generation and I am not sure why I suspect so much of it is due to a connect they have with their parents and grandparents and the pervasive t shirts such as the tongue and lips logo on sticky fingers tattoo you some girls and other covers. Their music is interesting as in todday’s listening they have an almost rap blues style to them unique actually in their sound.

    As an aside, I recently viewed a PBS sponsored video of Joe Bonamassa master guitarist. I strongly suggest you listen to him and judge for yourself the quality of his expression through his instrument.

  2. Sean Egan on May 14, 2012 11:46 pm

    I agree with everything positive that has been said by Edwardo. However, Mick didn’t play eight shows in a row over four nights, he played twelve straight shows over six. I saw his on Friday night and he gives inspiration. I was fortunate enough to speak with him briefly and get his autograph. I asked him to keep going because we all love him.

  3. Peter LaSorsa on May 15, 2012 11:36 pm

    I saw him Wednesday at the Iridium both shows. He was awesome. The guitar he played was a 1959 Les Paul valued at about $400,000. Fitting a man of his stature should play such a masterpiece. I was able to shake his hand and get a pick. I love listening to him and hope he continues to tour.

  4. michael bonderer on May 19, 2012 5:57 pm

    I caught a video-stream from Rollings Stones Twitter feed of Mick Jagger and Keith this week in conjunction with there Live LA ‘75 Bootleg on Google’s music thing and Keith was remarking how the ‘75 Tour was the first where Ronnie replaced Mick Taylor and remarked how to him (Keith), the experience playing with Mick Taylor was in-between that of Brian Jones and Ronnie. It was nice to hear Keith saying really positive things about Mick Taylor and how much he liked his ‘lead work’ which allowed him (keith) to focus on his blues riffs. For me Mick Taylor’s lead- work live on such tracks from Let it Bleed and Beggars Banquet like Sympathy for the Devil and Gimme Shelter transform already great compositions into far richer and dynamic songs.

    Next to Carlos Santana, Mick Taylor’s lead work is truly among the sweetest and sublime ever. In addition to the aforemention tracks, check out his work on Time Waits for No One from their album I’ts Only Rock n Roll. His work on Sticky Fingers tho is truly non pareil. See the track Sway, and how his lead deftly contrasts with probably Mick Jagger’s most raw and riviting vocals. Also from Sticky F, his magical leads on Moonlight Mile.

  5. michael bonderer on May 20, 2012 10:55 am

    Actually, after last night, Mick Jagger should just announce he’s touring with the Foo Fighters!

  6. Donalda on June 14, 2013 1:32 am

    Wow.

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