Harrison Marsh continues his examination of the great slide guitarists with former Rolling Stone and Blues Breaker, the great Mick Taylor.
Harrison Marsh examines the swampy slide style of the mega-cool Lowell George.
Few guitarists can boast finer career highlights than Mick Taylor, having been a member of the Blues Breakers, a Rolling Stone and touring with Bob Dylan, Jack Bruce and The Grateful Dead.
Following in the footsteps of Eric Clapton and Peter Green, Taylor first played with John Mayall aged only 16 when Clapton failed to turn up for a show. Mick would go on to replace Peter Green at the request of Mayall a year later, aged 17. Taylor recorded three albums with the band, and this experience defined him as one of the prime guitarists within the mid-’60s British blues revival.
Initially expecting to turn to studio work, Taylor was recommended to the Stones by Mayall in 1969 and made his live debut with the band in Hyde Park, at the tribute concert for the recently deceased Brian Jones. The following year Taylor contributed to the classic album Sticky Fingers which showed a change in direction for the group, no doubt in part due to Taylor’s influence. In 1974 Taylor left the Stones after differences due to how much credit he received for his contributions. Many, though, consider the Taylor years to have produced some of the band’s finest work.
Mick’s solo career showcases much of his best slide playing across two excellent studio releases. He would also go on to contribute to records by various Stones members as well as recording two albums with Bob Dylan.
Although far from purely a slide player, slide has formed an important part in Taylor’s wide-reaching style. And while occasionally using open E and open G tuning, Mick prefers standard tuning for much of his slide work; this helps to give him a sound of his own and avoids common open tuning phrasing that can become cliché. His use of standard tuning, along with eschewing the typically high action associated with the technique, also allows Taylor to switch between slide and non-slide passages, sometimes even in the same song.
Recently Mick has appeared on stage once again with both Mayall and the Stones. And with such an impressive back catalogue of live and recording work to his name, studying Taylor’s playing is a worthy challenge for any blues and rock slide enthusiast.
NEXT MONTH Harrison gets all down and dirty with Little Feat’s incredible Lowell George
WITH SUCH A BACK CATALOGUE TO HIS NAME, STUDYING MICK TAYLOR’S PLAYING IS A WORTHY CHALLENGE FOR ANY SLIDE ENTHUSIAST
Mick Taylor uses a metal slide on his fourth finger
Brought to you by…