Some people will travel any distance to
see Mick Taylor !
Having missed Mick's first appearance August 5th as I was out of
country and having missed our band's (Goats Head Soup) meeting with him that
night for photos I was chomping at the bit to get back home from out of
And that's just what I did on August 9th, 2003 coming all the way from
Sao Paulo Brazil in great anticipation of seeing Mick at Tuscon's in Ottawa.
But as the hand of fate would have it that was the day of the massive power
Shortly after touching down in Ottawa, I called Cozz McTaylorwood my
guitar partner in crime on his cell phone to find out if the show was still on
and next thing I know Mick Taylor is talking to me on the phone ! "David,
get the power back on man." Cozz was sitting with Mick at Tuscons and
several hangers-on having a beer !
I got there in a flash and sat in for a beer chatting with Mick and
the group. After an hour or so we all realized the show would be cancelled and
re-scheduled for the 14th.......
We arrived on the 14th with great anticipation as Mick was using my
and Cozz's Fender amplifiers and custom cabinets on stage (see photos).
I had seen Mick in 1987 at Barrymore's in Ottawa and had been somewhat
disappointed with the set list and overall show - what a surprise we were in
store for that night !
As I had hoped for Mick's set list combined some of the best elements
of his solo work, standard blues tunes with great solo improvisations and some
"stones" related moments. Mick's stage presence was totally
different than the late 80's show I saw at Barrymores. He engaged the
audience, smiled on staged, inter-acted with the local support musicians and
seemed to genuinely enjoy the experience of playing in front a small audience
in one of Ottawa's best blues clubs.
Here are some of the highlights - As the set list is similar to the
other Canadian shows I haven't given a song by song run-down. My top 5 were:
Leather Jacket was a wonderful surprise - the
song dating back to his first rehearsals with the Stones in 1969 and finally
showing up on his debut solo LP in 1979......the song's lyrics ring hauntingly
true even today "all you have left are your rock and roll dreams".
Mick's voice was very solid and like Keith, in 1988 when he finally went solo
with the Expensive Winos, .......has managed to become a convincing lead
singer despite serious limitations in vocal range.
Alabama - another great choice from Mick's 79
solo LP - wonderful fluid solo work and slide guitar playing. Mick kept losing
track of the slide all night but never failed to find it just as it was time
to kick into a killer slide solo ! Mick tinkered with the settings on the amp
for the first few numbers till he got just the sound he was after (I was
amazed at how he walked out on stage with no sound check with a new amp set up
he had not used before and within seconds had a fabulous sound - boy were we
nervous that he wouldn't like the double amp set up or that something would go
wrong - HE LOVED THEM!
Secret Affair - he really enjoyed this number,
sang confidently and engaged the audience - the support band were all smiles
and the bass and piano players stood out all night supporting beautifully
No Expectations - A slightly faster than the
original version........but it brought me right back to Mick's Hyde Park debut
show June 5, 1969 ! More great slide work. This is one of a handful of Stones
songs that Mick Taylor, Brian Jones and Ron Wood have all played on so it
always has a special significance to me.
Slow Blues - Listening the record and then
hearing it live - WOW. The soloing on this one just kicks ass so melodic. If
only it had found its way into a Richards-Jagger and Taylor composition - it
would have been destined to become a Stones classic..........and as Taylor
points out in the Outro of the song......Time waits for noone .
After the show, Mick returned into the bar after a 3o minute break,
joined in for a few beers, chatted, signed autographs and appeared to be in great
spirits. We've included many photos taken that night by our drummer Motley
Watts. Mick signed my amplifier to match Cozz's amps so we are in 7th heaven
every Wednesday night at our regular band practice!
Now all we have to do is to convince Mick to return to Ottawa next
year and have Goats Head Soup as his opening act !
Pops Richards - Guitarist and founding member of GHS