Found a very slim amount of time to put together a selection of snapshots of a concert I attended, simply so I could witness Mick Taylor‘s guitar prowess, live. As it turned out, the Alvin Lee Band would open for the version of Black Sabbath, which – at that time – featured Ronnie James Dio as the vocalist/frontman. Those of you who have visited my blog in the past, will be familiar with the fact that I wrote a long piece about the first time I saw Black Sabbath perform [found on my other Page, “Where Was I?” at this link: 1971 ]
I have to admit that I was not all that much into seeing Black Sabbath by this point, since I thought their releases after “Volume 4”, became less and less interesting to these ears, especially since I had begun to listen to a lot more different genres of music that were floating about on the airwaves, and being recommended by good friends to check out. To be blunt about it; my tastes were changing rapidly by then.
The main push for me to see the show, was my good buddy Gary’s insistence on seeing both, Alvin Lee, of Ten Years After fame, and the added bonus of Mick Taylor on guitar, as well. Gary had long been a fan of the earlier Ten Years After material, even though I never ended up purchasing any of their records, while he had more than a couple from their catalog. Still, I could not argue that “I’m Going Home” wasn’t a monster track; but I always preferred “I’d Love to Change the World” Ten Years After – Change the World [YouTube audio] , as opposed to their rock or blues covers [which was one reason I did not plunk down the money for the records…. I much preferred some of the other British blues bands and their interpretations of such material, such as The Savoy Brown Blues Band, featuring Kim Simmonds – of whom, photos will follow sometime soon]. Anyway, I have strayed from the original point of this post.
Here is a sampling of the typical set-list that was performed on this particular tour, a rather short one, as it turned out:
(One Of These Days/Good Morning Little Schoolgirl/Slow Blues In C/Pecan Pie/
Can’t Stop/I’m Going Home/Choo Choo Mama)
As it turns out, the set would receive a review in the local newspaper, but it was not a very complimentary one, and as I recall, the set was not all-that-inspiring….. The real interest was waiting for Mick Taylor to have a moment or two to shine, but he was reserved in his playing; perhaps, just content to be a sideman, and not detract from the band’s actual leader, and his choice of material.
The review mentions that Alvin Lee was upset with something connected with the sound, and cut the set short, but I’d say he was just as unhappy about the fact that 90% of the crowd was there to see Black Sabbath, and was vocal in their displeasure at waiting for the opening act to finish, and get to the reason they were there. That’s how a lot of shows in Louisville, on this scale [5.5 thousand capacity, or so], would play out, as I remember it. The crowd rarely enjoyed the opening sets, but if they did, they’d really let you know it, with their particular brand of enthusiasm.
My first Rolling Stones’ concert would not happen until the 1975 tour, so I never had the chance to see Mr. Taylor appear with the band during those earlier tours. If I had to choose which period of the Stones that I enjoy the most [or listen to, the most], it would, hands-down, be the Mick Taylor years. That is not to say that I dislike the other eras of the band; it is just that I go back and listen to those last records of the ’60s, and the early 70s, much more frequently….
It surprised me, time and again, to see Mr. Taylor pop up on recordings by musicians that I would never have guessed that he would collaborate with, and that I had been listening to, nearly concurrently with his years as a member of the Stones, such as Pierre Moerlen’s Gong! Pierre Moerlen’s Gong page at Wikipedia Even though he only features on one song on the album, it is a beaut [or monster] of a track, depending on your view….. Gong, and their predecessors, have long been favorites of mine, and this one track, while not particularly representative of the majority of their output at this stage in that band’s career, does give you a taste of the different directions the group would/could take with other incredible guitarists who would record with them, such as the recently departed, Allan Holdsworth. Listen for yourself, as Mr. Taylor weaves his way into the groove Pierre Moerlen’s Gong – “Heavy Tune” audio on YouTube [and I would recommend allowing some of the other, earlier Gong tracks a chance to play, featuring another ace guitarist from the earlier version of the group, Steve Hillage].
Another fave moment of mine, listening to Mr. Taylor’s live work, is when he showed up on a date with Little Feat, on a UK tour, and subsequently on their double-lp release, “Waiting for Columbus”. Here’s the simply delicious “A Apolitical Blues”, live Little Feat with Mick Taylor guesting on “A Apolitical Blues” – YouTube live clip – quite the gesture, for Lowell George to let him take over the slide guitar duties on that one…
As I mentioned earlier, I was always a huge fan of his years with the Stones, and in my opinion, one only needs to hear their greatest “live-album-that-never-was” [thanks, in part, to their difficulties with Allen Klein] in order to hear him shine. There have been quotes, over the years, about Keith Richards and his complaints about the solos that wound on, during these last two tours with Mr. Taylor, but in my humble opinion, they were/are still above describing appropriately enough, and we should be grateful that they were recorded, at the time! I have included a link to the original vinyl version of those recordings, in all of its glorious infidelity, since I believe it is the way the recordings should sound, and be listened to… well, it is partly because I wore out the grooves of my original bootleg copy of the record, and each chord, solo, drum fill, bass line and vocal is indelibly stamped in my memory cells, after the numerous plays it enjoyed over the years, on my turntable[s]. There are cleaner versions out there, if you take the time to track them down, but “start here”, if you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to these performances, before now: The Rolling Stones – “Bedspring Symphony, A Box Lunch and Meat Whistle” Live in Concert The track listing for the album, labels “Midnight Rambler [best version ever]” — and it ain’t no lie!!!
I should also mention that I went out and bought Mick Taylor’s first solo lp, just to have a copy of his composition, “Leather Jacket” Mick Taylor – “Leather Jacket” audio on YouTube Another killer track from the album, is also this one Mick Taylor – “Alabama” audio on YouTube
I sincerely hope you enjoyed viewing the images, and did not get too bored with my rambling. For more information about Alvin Lee, and Mick Taylor, please visit the following websites:
An offical site for the late Alvin Lee:
For an extensive, and highly informative site on Mick Taylor‘s work, live and studio, over the years, have a look here:
Mick Taylor‘s official Facebook page:
NOTE: A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE WATERMARKS ON MY WORK
While many of you who arrive here, to look at these photographs may get turned off to my use of watermarks [thinking they ruin the image], let me explain why I choose to do this.
No one paid for my camera equipment but me. No one paid for the film I used to take these photographs. On occasion, when I free-lanced for a free monthly newsletter, and they published a photo of mine, the payment for each photograph barely paid for the fuel to get my vehicle to the show [when I *did* have a vehicle], and the film I used on that night.
Not too many of my photos were published, at the time, because the artists I chose to capture images of, were not hugely popular then. Hence, the old dictum, “Supply and Demand”; I had the supply, but the demand [pre-Internet], was not there. You can argue the relative merits of the quality of my work, and that is precisely what a blog offers: a venue for discussion.
Back to the watermarks: no one is subsidizing my time to scan and then clean up the images I am presenting here. Start to finish, each negative will take approximately an hour-and-a-half to reach “proof” quality – which is what you will see here. This is my labor of love, and until there is some measurable return on my efforts, what you see is what you get.