Sat Eye Candy: Mick Taylor


While his tenure with The Rolling Stones lasted only five years, Mick Taylor sure made an impression. His fluid, dirty pretty style remains many fans all-time favorite guitar voice (outside of dear ol' Keith's madly brilliant plinking) in the band, and despite decades with Ron Wood filling his shoes there's just no shaking the impact – on the Stones and rock 'n' roll in general – Taylor made during his brief time in their circus. For all that came before or after, the Stones will always be defined in many ways by the albums and tours Taylor was an integral part of. Just his opening salvos with the band, when he was asked to jump in for a recently fired Brian Jones, namely "Country Honk" and "Live With Me" on Let It Bleed and the single "Honky Tonk Women," speak to the enduring whomp of Taylor's playing. He showed himself a strong songwriter, too, co-penning Stones classics like "Moonlight Mile" and "Sway" with Mick Jagger and enlivening stone cold masterpieces Sticky Fingers, Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!, Exile On Main Street, Goat's Head Soup and It's Only Rock 'n Roll with his inspired guitar work before quitting in 1974. Even after leaving his fingerprints kept appearing, like his sinewy playing on "Waiting For a Friend," which was recorded in 1972 but not released until 1981's Tattoo You.

Taylor has remained an active, enjoyable musician in the years since his departure, mostly working in his own bands but also hooking up with the likes of Bob Dylan, Jack Bruce, Alvin Lee (Ten Years After), former boss from his teenage years John Mayall and recently with the Experience Hendrix project. We wish him a very happy birthday on his 60th and thank him for the great good he's done rock and freakin' roll.

We begin with a stunning "Love In Vain" from 1972. Taylor's slide will crack you open and let the blues pour right on in.

Yeah, the video is a shaky, audience shot stuff but the audio is just fine on this Mick Taylor sit-in on "West L.A. Fadeaway" with the Grateful Dead at Madison Square Garden on September 24, 1988.

Let's stay in Caucasian funk mode a bit longer. Here's Taylor with Cream's Jack Bruce on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1975.

And the good company just keeps on rolling as Taylor joins Little Feat in London for "A Apolitical Blues" in 1977. Lowell George seems to be having a high time with his sparring partner here.

Back to the Stones in 1972 with a barnstorming version of "Midnight Rambler" from the film Ladies and Gentlemen – The Rolling Stones.

Next, we're off the Marquee Club in 1971 for a fabulous "Live With Me." Even in a long, long career of bizarre fashion choices, Mick's ensemble here is noteworthy.

One of Taylor's major achievements as a Rolling Stone was helping the lads incorporate country music so seamlessly into their blues rock stew. We stay at the same '71 Marquee Club gig for a primo example of Stonesian twang, "Dead Flowers," where Taylor weaves silver lines throughout.

The Bluesbreakers reunited in 1982 and everyone from John Mayall on through Mick Taylor really shone on the U.S. tour that year, where audiences were treated to jewels like this simmering take on Buddy Guy's "My Time After Awhile."

We close with the Stones in their '72 fightin' peak on "All Down The Line." While Keith has the more obvious Chuck Berry licks, it's Taylor who enchants with some of the sleaziest slide work ever laid down by anybody, anywhere, anytime. May this be a fine new decade for you, Mr. Taylor.

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[Published on: 1/17/09]

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irtimed starstarstarstarstar Sat 1/17/2009 10:56AM
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happy big 6-0 Mickey!

21mmer starstarstarstarstar Sat 1/17/2009 11:14AM
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jagger and richards may be the face of the stones, but taylor is the soul. i can take or leave most of the stone's output outside of the mick taylor years.....those of you that don't have 'stick fingers' and 'exil on main st.' in you collections are missing out on some inspired songwriting and blistering rock and roll. nice one jambase.----

ps- check this version of 'sway' out from 1990....mick is sitting in on slide. no video, just music.....but wait for the solo. you're welcome.

21mmer Sat 1/17/2009 11:15AM
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*stickY fingers

rainydayman starstarstarstarstar Sat 1/17/2009 11:33AM
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He was my favorite Stone. I love the vibrato.

crowesfan starstarstarstarstar Sat 1/17/2009 01:55PM
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Love Mick Taylor. Exile on Main Street is one of my all time favorite albums. That clip with Little Feat was pretty damn good

futhepharmer starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/18/2009 08:52AM
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best all time Stones era. Anyone who hasn't delved into Exile on Main Street need do themselves a solid and do so. Many rewards await.

futhepharmer Sun 1/18/2009 08:55AM
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and just in case there are any new Phish fans who didn't know, Exile is the album that "Lovin' Cup" is on.

Stones do it better tho.

noreika823 starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/18/2009 10:20AM
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happy birthday to a fine musician ..great videos as well

greysoul starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/18/2009 12:53PM
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Another couple of must-hears: First, "Time Waits For No One" (off "It's Only Rock & Roll" - and recently covered by Panic on Halloween): pure Mick beauty with touches of Santana-like soaring. And, his first solo album, simply titled "Mick Taylor": there's everything from greasy blues to Stonesy crunch - and if you listen to the fade-out at the end of the last cut, you'll hear him briefly quote the afore-mentioned solo from "Time Waits For No One."

Flat5 Sun 1/18/2009 10:36PM
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Sway is such a bad ass song! (from Sticky Fingers)

andyedds starstarstarstarstar Mon 1/19/2009 07:49AM
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Exile on Main Street is the greatest Stones album IMO and its basically all I prefer to listen to from them. Just listen to "Stop Break'n Down" and you'll know what all the fuss is about with Mick, incredible slide work and soloing.

WOW ... West LA with Jerry and Mick was SICK!

Lowell George and Little Feat with Mick ain't too shabby either. I still love the Stones, and they put on a great show ... but their finest work was when Mick was in the band. Keith and Ron are good, but they're just a little too much show for me, while Mick was all substance.

Happy birthday Mick!

driftinimpulse Mon 1/19/2009 12:22PM
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Let It the greatest stones record in my opinion . Exile and fingers are great as well...but yeah if you don't own a copy of Let It Bleed ..and you dig rock music go get it!