Posts Tagged ‘Mick Taylor’

A 35 Disc Deluxe Box Set from the Godfather of the British blues : There are box sets and then there are BOX SETS. John Mayall’s ‘The First Generation 1965-1974 set sits firmly in the latter category, being substantial both in the artefacts contained within and the superb music it encompasses. It is the first time a set of this size has been released documenting John Mayall’s influential early years and, not only does it have all the albums from his much lauded formative career, but it also contains unreleased tracks aplenty.

Featuring Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Harvey Mandel, Blue Mitchell, Jon Mark and many more outstanding musicians, this mammoth package contains 35 CDs plus a beautiful hardback book and much more. Not for nothing did John Mayall earn the moniker ‘The Godfather of British Blues’. For a short but compelling time in the ‘60s and ‘70s he recognised raw talent when he saw it, he took it in, he nurtured it, and everyone thrived and benefitted as the result.

Says a press release describing the collection: “It is the first time a set of this size has been released documenting John Mayall’s early years and not only does it have all the albums from his much-lauded formative career but it also has unreleased tracks aplenty. Many of the best musicians of the period passed through the hallowed ranks of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and all are on show here in a stunning set crammed with musical highlights. Put together with John Mayall’s full co-operation, the full list of contents is as follows:- 35 discs, including 3 CD Singles & 8 previously unreleased discs, alongside newly remastered versions of the original Decca & Polydor albums.

The press release continues with further details: “Not for nothing did John Mayall earn the moniker ‘Godfather of the British Blues.’ For a short but compelling time in the ’60s and ’70s he recognized raw talent when he saw it, he took it in, he nurtured it and everyone thrived and benefitted as the result. Many of the best musicians of the period passed through the hallowed ranks of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and all are on show here in a stunning set crammed with musical highlights. 

Music from seven unreleased gigs (including Windsor 1967, Gothenburg 1968, Berlin 1969 and San Francisco 1970 and others).- 28 unreleased BBC tracks featuring guitarists Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor.- Individually signed photograph.- Hardback book including many rare photos and memorabilia plus a full gig listing for the period.- Separate book including fan club letters and correspondence.- Two replica posters – Ten Years Are Gone and tour poster from 1968.- Replica press pack for John Mayall Plays John Mayall.

This box set will be limited to 5,000 copies worldwide and is released on January 29th, 2021 on the Madfish label through Snapper Music.

Pre-Order the Box here: https://JohnMayallMusic.lnk.to/TheFirstGeneration

Buy Online John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers - European Union (Live In The UK & Germany) Blue

The legendary John Mayall’s various bands were a revolving door of musical greats.
This superb new collection gathers performances by three separate outfits, featuring outstanding performances by Eric Clapton, John McVie, Mick Taylor and others. Originally performed live for radio and TV broadcast, they’re presented in superb fidelity here, together with background notes and images.

Incredible collection of performances, live in session from the UK and Germany, Includes BBC radio, Radio Bremen and WDR-TV broadcasts, Digitally remastered for greatly enhanced sound quality
Background liners and rare images First time on vinyl with Hand numbered editions.

Track Listing:
Side One
SATURDAY CLUB
March 19th 1966 | BBC Radio
1. On Top Of The World (John Mayall) 2.31
2. Key To Love (John Mayall) 2.00
3. Hideaway (Sonny Thompson / Freddie King) 3.20
4. Little Girl (John Mayall) 2.45
5. Tears In My Eyes (John Mayall) 4.28
6. Parchman Farm (Mose Allison / Bukka White) 2.21

John Mayall – vocals, keyboards, harmonica, guitar
Eric Clapton – guitar John McVie bass Hughie Flint – drums

DIE GLOCKE KONZERTHAUS
Bremen, Germany May 22nd 1969 | Radio Bremen
7. Love Me Baby If You Can (John Mayall) 5.53
8. Checkin’ Up On My Baby (Sonny Boy Williamson) 5.09

Side Two
1. Parchman Farm (Mose Allison / Bukka White) 13.50
2. Time Has Come (John Mayall) 6.12
3. 2401 (John Mayall) 5.32

John Mayall – keyboards, harp Mick Taylor – guitar
Steve Thompson – bass Collin Allen – drums

BEAT CLUB
January 31st 1970 | WDR-TV
4. I’m Gonna Fight For You J.B. 4.08

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The Rolling Stones – Goat’s Head Soup & It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll Outtakes ft. Mick Taylor Rare Solo Tracks Full Album (2019) In November 1972 The Rolling Stones relocated to Kingston, Jamaica’s Dynamic Sound Studios. Keith Richards said in year 2002: “Jamaica was one of the few places that would let us all in! By that time about the only country that I was allowed to exist in was Switzerland, which was damn boring for me, at least for the first year, because I didn’t like to ski… Nine countries kicked me out, thank you very much, so it was a matter of how to keep this thing together..

Of the recording process, Marshall Chess, the president of Rolling Stones Records at the time, said in 2002, “We used to book studios for a month, 24 hours a day, so that the band could keep the same set-up and develop their songs in their free-form way, starting with a few lyrics and rhythms, jamming and rehearsing while we fixed the sound. It amazed me, as an old-time record guy, that the Stones might not have played together for six or eight months, but within an hour of jamming, the synergy that is their strength would come into play and they would lock it together as one…”
Jagger said of their approach to recording at the time, “Song-writing and playing is a mood. Like the last album we did (Exile on Main St.) was basically recorded in short concentrated periods. Two weeks here, two weeks there – then another two weeks. And, similarly, all the writing was concentrated so that you get the feel of one particular period of time. Three months later it’s all very different and we won’t be writing the same kind of material as Goats Head Soup.”

On the sessions and influence of the island, Richards said, “The album itself didn’t take that long, but we recorded an awful lot of tracks. There were not only Jamaicans involved, but also percussion players who came from places like Guyana, a travelling pool of guys who worked in the studios. It was interesting to be playing in this totally different atmosphere. Mikey Chung, the engineer at Dynamic, for example, was a Chinese man — you realise how much Jamaica is a multi-ethnic environment.”

The first track for Goat’s Head Soup that was recorded at Dynamic called “Winter”, which Mick Taylor said started with “just Mick (Jagger) strumming on a guitar in the studio, and everything falling together from there.” The album’s lead single, called “Angie”, was an unpopular choice as lead single with Atlantic Records which, according to Chess, “wanted another ‘Brown Sugar’ rather than a ballad.” Although the song was rumoured to be about David Bowie’s first wife Angela, both Jagger and Richards have consistently denied this.

In 1993, Richards, in the liner notes to the compilation album Jump Back: The Best of The Rolling Stones, said that the title was inspired by his baby daughter, Dandelion Angela.  However, in his 2010 memoir Life, Richards denied this, saying that he had chosen the name for the song before he knew the sex of his expected baby: “I just went, ‘Angie, Angie.’ It was not about any particular person; it was a name, like ‘ohhh, Diana.’ I didn’t know Angela was going to be called Angela when I wrote ‘Angie’. In those days you didn’t know what sex the thing was going to be until it popped out. In fact, Anita named her Dandelion. She was only given the added name Angela because she was born in a Catholic hospital where they insisted that a ‘proper’ name be added.” According to NME, the lyrics written by Jagger were inspired by Jagger’s breakup with Marianne Faithfull. This was the last Rolling Stones album produced by Jimmy Miller, who’d worked with the band since 1968’s Beggars Banquet sessions. Unfortunately, Miller had developed a debilitating drug habit during the course of his years spent with the Stones.

Aside from the official band members, other musicians appearing on Goats Head Soup include keyboard players Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, and Ian Stewart. Recording was completed in January 1973 in Los Angeles and May 1973 at London’s Island Recording Studios. The song “Silver Train” was a leftover from 1970s recordings at Olympic Sound. Goats Head Soup was also the band’s first album without any cover songs since Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967.

The album It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll was at first developed as a half-live, half-studio production with one side of the album featuring live performances from the Stones‘ European tour while the other side was to be composed of newly recorded cover versions of the band’s favourite R&B songs. Covers recorded included a take of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away”, Jimmy Reed’s “Shame Shame Shame,” and The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” Soon the band began working off riffs by Richards and new ideas by Mick Jagger and the original concept was scrapped in favour of an album with all-new material. The cover of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” was the only recording to make the cut, while the “Drift Away” cover is a popular bootleg. It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll marked the Stones‘ first effort in the producer’s chair since Their Satanic Majesties Request, and the first for Jagger and Richards under their pseudonym “The Glimmer Twins.”

On the choice to produce, Richards said at the time: “I think we’d come to a point with Jimmy (Miller) where the contribution level had dropped because it’d got to be a habit, a way of life, for Jimmy to do one Stones album a year. He’d got over the initial sort of excitement which you can feel on Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. Also, Mick and I felt that we wanted to try and do it ourselves because we really felt we knew much more about techniques and recording and had our own ideas of how we wanted things to go. Goats Head Soup hadn’t turned out as we wanted to – not blaming Jimmy or anything like that… But it was obvious that it was time for a change in that particular part of the process of making records.”

Starting with this release, all future Rolling Stones albums would either be produced by themselves or in collaboration with an outside producer. Most of the album’s backing tracks were recorded first at Musicland; solo vocals were recorded later by Jagger, about whom Richards would say, “he often comes up with his best stuff alone in the studio with just an engineer.” The song “Luxury” showed the band’s growing interest in reggae music, while “Till the Next Goodbye” and “If You Really Want to Be My Friend” continued their immersion in ballads.

Seven of the album’s 10 songs crack the four-minute mark, a feature that would come to be disparaged during the rising punk rock scene of the late 1970s. Ronnie Wood, a long-time acquaintance of the band, began to get closer to the Rolling Stones during these sessions after he invited Mick Taylor to play on his debut album, I’ve Got My Own Album to Do. Taylor spent some time recording and hanging out at Wood’s house The Wick. By chance, Richards was asked one night by Wood’s wife at the time, Krissy, to join them at the guitarist’s home. While there, Richards recorded some tracks with Wood and quickly developed a close friendship, with Richards going as far as moving into Wood’s guest room. Jagger soon entered the mix and it was here that the album’s lead single and title track, “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”, was first recorded. Wood worked closely on the track with Jagger, who subsequently took the song and title for their album.

The released version of this song features Wood on 12-string acoustic guitar. It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll was Mick Taylor’s last album with the Rolling Stones, and he played on just seven of the 10 tracks (he did not play on tracks 2, 3 or 6). Due to Taylor’s absence, Richards is responsible for the brief lead guitar break on “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” the distorted electric guitar on the title track (which includes the solo), and played both rhythm and lead guitar tracks on “Luxury.” However, on the occasional live performances of “Luxury” during the Tour of the Americas 1975, lead guitar was provided by Ron Wood. Even though Taylor is present on “Short and Curlies,” his slide guitar playing panned onto the right channel/speaker is mostly buried underneath Richards’ own lead guitar throughout most of the track, which is panned to the left channel/speaker. Similar to receiving no writing credits on the Stones‘ previous album, Goats Head Soup, Taylor reportedly had made song writing contributions to “Till the Next Goodbye” and “Time Waits for No One,” but on the album jacket, all original songs were credited to Jagger/Richards. Taylor said in 1997: “I did have a falling out with Mick Jagger over some songs I felt I should have been credited with co-writing on It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll. We were quite close friends and co-operated quite closely on getting that album made. By that time Mick and Keith weren’t really working together as a team so I’d spend a lot of time in the studio.” Taylor’s statement contradicts Jagger’s earlier comment concerning the album. Jagger stated in a 1995 Rolling Stone interview about “Time Waits for No One” that Taylor “maybe threw in a couple of chords.” Alongside the usual outside contributors, namely Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins and unofficial member Ian Stewart, Elton John sideman Ray Cooper acted as percussionist for the album. Several songs were finished songs and overdubs and mixing were performed at Jagger’s home, Stargroves, in the early summer of 1974.

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Last week, the Rolling Stones announced plans for a super-deluxe edition of their 1973 LP Goats Head Soup. It features a remastered version of the original album along with alternate mixes, rarities, instrumental tracks, a complete 1973 show taped in Brussels, and three previously unreleased songs from the era.

The original Goats Head Soup tour was confined entirely to Europe and lasted just seven weeks. Four songs from the album (“Coming Down Again,” “Hide Your Love,” ‘Winter,” and “Can You Hear the Music”) were never played at any point, while “100 Years Ago” and “Silver Train” were dropped after just one week into the run. By the time the tour wrapped, the only Goats Head Soup songs still in rotation were “Angie,” “Star Star,” ‘Dancing With Mr. D,” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).”

As the years went on, only “Angie,” “Star Star,” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo” stayed in their live repertoire. It wasn’t until 2014 that they decided to resurrect some of the lesser-known tunes. Here’s video of “Silver Train” from a November 18th, 2014, show at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia. They’re joined by Mick Taylor, who plays on the original. As you can hear, the song is about a man’s encounter with a prostitute. “And I did not know her name,” Jagger sings. “But I sure love the way/That she laughed and took my money.” They haven’t done the song since that night, but in 2017 they brought back “Dancing With Mr. D” and played it at five shows. We’re still waiting to hear “Coming Down Again,” “Hide Your Love,” ‘Winter,” and “Can You Hear the Music.

Another prized jewel gets a special release in the Rolling Stones‘ unmatched catalogue, restored to its full glory and more, multi-format release of their 1973 classic Goats Head Soup”. The album will be available in multiple configurations, including four-disc cd and vinyl box set editions, with a treasure trove of unreleased studio and live material. The reissue follows the huge success and acclaim for the Stones latest track “Living In a Ghost Town” single and their universally-admired recent lockdown performance of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” in a global citizen’s april special One World: Together at Home.

The box set and deluxe cd and vinyl editions of “Goats Head Soup” will all feature ten bonus tracks, which include alternate versions, outtakes and no fewer than three previously unheard tracks. the first of these to be unveiled, “Criss Cross”, Stones devotees worldwide will be thrilled by the inclusion, on the box set and deluxe editions, of the previously unheard “Scarlet”, featuring guitar by Jimmy Page, and a third newly unveiled song, “All The Rage”. The layered guitar textures of “scarlet” make for a track that’s as infectious and raunchy as anything the band cut in this hallowed era. as well as jimmy Page guesting alongside Mick & Keith on the track it also features on bass Rick Grech of Blind Faith fame.

“all the rage” has a wild, post – “brown sugar” strut and the percussive “criss cross” rocks and swaggers as only the stones can. the bonus disc of unreleased material also sheds new light on tracks such as “100 years ago” and “hide your love”, with further unissued mixes by stones insider and acclaimed producer glyn johns.

Box set editions of Goats Head Soup will also include the infamous Brussels Affair, the 15-track live album recorded in a memorable show in Belgium, on the autumn 1973 tour that followed the album’s late august release. this much-sought-after disc, mixed by Bob Clearmountain, was previously available only in the Rolling Stones’ “Official Bootleg” series of live recordings in 2012.

The Brussels show features the already-classic “Tumbling Dice”, “Midnight Rambler”, “Jumping Jack Flash” and many others, and includes a sequence of tracks from the then-new album. “Star Star” is followed by “Dancing With Mr. D”, “Doo doo doo doo doo (Heartbreaker)” and “Angie”. Additionally, the cd and vinyl box sets offer the original ten-track album in 5.1 surround sound, dolby atmos and hi-res mixes, along with the videos for “Dancing with Mr. D”, “Silver Train” and “Angie”. an exclusive 100-page book will feature a remarkable array of photographs, essays by writers Ian Mccann, Nick Kent and Daryl Easlea and faithful reproductions of three tour posters from 1973.

As Mccann writes: “Goats Head Soup” was released with plenty of fanfare. despite what you may read today, the kids weren’t entirely absorbed by glam rock, metal, prog and philly soul back in 1973, and they bought the album in their thousands, sending it to no. 1 in the USA and in the Uk, their fifth consecutive british chart-topper.”

It was The Rolling Stones 11th studio album, recorded in Jamaica, Los Angeles and London as their last collaboration with producer Jimmy Miller, Goats Head Soup came in the wake of the Stones’ landmark 1972 double album Exile On Main St. the new set was introduced by the single that became one of their most exalted ballads, the endlessly elegant single “Angie”, completed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards during a song-writing sojourn in Switzerland. The timeless love song, showcasing Jagger’s yearning lead vocal and Nicky Hopkins‘ beautiful piano motif, topped the charts in the us, where it was certified platinum, and went to no. 1 across europe, australia and beyond. “we decided to do something different, and it worked,” said Richards of “Angie”. “maybe a lot of people bought it that would never buy a Stones album.” interestingly in a recent interview with the New York Times, Bob Dylan chose “Angie” as one of three Rolling Stones songs he wished he had written.

Goats Head Soup, with its famous photographer David Bailey shot sleeve, featured the Rolling Stones’ vintage 1969-1974 line-up of Jagger, Richards, Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, with the addition of some essential collaborators. on an album on which their trademark rocking sound was often augmented by more low-key, reflective material, there were no fewer than four featured keyboard players: Hopkins, Billy Preston, Ian ‘Stu’ Stewart and Jagger himself.

“Angie” was the only single to be released from the lp in the uk, where it spent two weeks at no. 5 in September. in the us, the exhilaratingly funky, horn-filled “Doo doo doo doo doo (Heartbreaker)”, featuring Mick Taylor’s wah-wah lead guitar, followed it into the top 20 in february 1974.

Many other highlights of the album included the majestically brooding opener “Dancing with Mr. D”, the lithely strutting “100 Years Ago” and “Star Star” and the graceful “Winter”. Richards’ rueful lead vocal on “Coming Down Again” featured another Stones stalwart, saxophonist Bobby Keys. “Silver Train”, the b-side of “Angie”, would be revived after a gap of some 40 years, during the Rolling Stones’ 14 On Fire tour of 2014, when Mick Taylor reprised his original guitar part in shows in Tokyo and Brisbane.

When the album was first released, reviewers lined up to sing its praises. “this is music which could only come from good musicians who know each other really well,” ruled the late and esteemed writer-broadcaster Charlie Gillett in let it rock. “the Stones succeed because they rarely forget their purpose — the creation of rock & roll drama,” said Bud Scoppa in Rolling Stone magazine. “it’s deepening and unfolding over the coming months will no doubt rate as one of the year’s richest musical experiences.”

The 4 Lp Set Deluxe clothbound expected release: 4th September 2020

Live At The Oakland Coliseum 1969 (2020 reissue)

This LP contains soundboard recordings of the Rolling Stones’ live performance at the Oakland Colisuem in Oakland, California at the start of their ground breaking November 1969 trek across North America.

Subsequently broadcast on Radio KSAN at the behest of Bill Graham, these nine tracks demonstrate why on this tour the Stones were introduced as “the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world.” Four of these songs – Prodigal Son, You Gotta Move, Gimme Shelter and Satisfaction – were not included on the Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! LP, recorded later on the tour in New York and Baltimore.

These LP is made by the person who operated the label which later calls the TMOQ. Ken and Dub are two people who have felt quite recognized among maniacs in the 2010s. It was that they released Bob Dylan’s “GREAT WHITE WONDER” famous for their first bootleg in the history of rock. This sound source boasts a different quality as the audience of 1969. Dub succeeded in capturing the performance on by using the shotgun microphone instead of the surrounding sound.

It is well known that it became the opportunity to release anecdotes about the album and official release ‘Get Yer Ya – Ya’s Out’. What is surprising than anything is that the value of the item and the sound source did not fade at all even after the appearance of the official. On the contrary, the sound source that Dub recorded, even in recent years, has been released in various forms. It is a testimony of how excellent it was that recording. This recording is referred to as Dub recording below.

What makes these parts mix SBD and succeeded in raising the balance of Mick’s vocal which was a distant subject in various audience recordings because of quiet performance. That surprisingly natural finish is another masterpiece. He showed outstanding sense, such as diverting SBD even in “Live With Me”. A masterpiece of audience recording comes out this week from the 1969 American tour, which pairs well with the soundboard masterpiece “GET YER YA – YA’S OUT! COMPLETE EDITION”!

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Arguably, no bandleader in modern history has attracted more sterling guitarists to his line up than John Mayall. During the ’60s and ’70s, Mayall hired and shaped some of the most distinguished axemen of all time, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Jon Mark and Harvey Mandel. In a frenzied, fourteen month period, between 1966 and ’67, Mayall released the seminal “Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton” album, followed by “A Hard Road”, which showcased the string-bending talents of Peter Green right before he formed Fleetwood Mac, chased by “Crusade” , which introduced the world to later Rolling Stones’ guitar wiz Mick Taylor.

And it’s not just guitarists who are drawn into Mayall’s orbit. In addition his ever-shifting bands have included such vaunted bass players as John McVie, Jack Bruce, Andy Fraser and Tony Reeves, while, on drums, he nurtured the classic stickmen Mick Fleetwood, Aynsley Dunbar, Keef Hartley and Jon Hiseman. To boot, he provided early showcases for British sax icon Dick Heckstall-Smith and fusion violin pioneer Don “Sugarcane” Harris.

“I guess I’ve got good taste,” said Mayall, with a laugh. He’s also got longevity. At 83, Mayall still tours widely and puts out albums, including a crisp and toned new one, Talk About That

John Mayall Talk About That

The music on the album honors, and reemphasizes, the star’s more than half century devotion to the blues. Two cuts feature contributions by Joe Walsh. “Apparently, it was on [Joe’s] bucket list to play with me,” Mayall said. “I didn’t know his qualifications as a blues guitarist, to be honest. But he fit right in. He was only with us a few hours but it was a magical experience.”

Much the same could be said of Mayall’s many collaborators over the years. Few of them tarried long in his band, but each left an indelible impression. After more than half a century of talent scouting, it’s high time to celebrate everything John Mayall did with, and for, the star musicians he nurtured.

If you ask Mayall what he brought to all these axemen in their formative phases, he’ll answer with one word: freedom. “If I hire somebody to play with me, I’m hiring them because I love their playing,” he said. “I don’t want to usurp that by saying ‘you must play this and you can’t play that.’ I gave them the freedom to help them develop their own style.”

Mayall’s age helped him assume that mentor role convincingly. He was already thirty when he got his first record contract and began his storied hiring spree. His father had also been a guitarist and jazz fan, though John leaned closer to the blues as a teen after hearing artists like Lead Belly and Pinetop Smith. Armed with a guitar and a harmonica, Mayall played in blues bands during his time at the Manchester College of Art. Years later, the visual flair he honed at school would allow him to design some of his early album covers. In 1962, Mayall formed the group Blues Syndicate, mixing that genre with jazz, a balance inspired by Alexis Korner’s band. Korner convinced Mayall to move to London where, in 1963, he formed his first version of the Bluesbreakers, featuring John McVie on bass. Mayall himself sang lead vocals and played rhythm guitar. The group secured gigs at the Marquee Club, which led to a contract with Decca Records. In 1964, Mayall’s band received an amazing opportunity—to back John Lee Hooker on a British tour of clubs and festivals. “We learned a lot from playing with him,” Mayall said. “The first thing we noticed was that, where all the English bands were playing as loudly as they could, there was a different dynamic from the American blues greats. From them, we learned all about dynamics and volume.”

Mayall believes that the British and European musicians had more respect for the roots players than their American brethren did back then. “There were two separate societies in America at the time because of the color bar,” he said. “When the black jazz and blues musicians came over here they were treated like Gods. So it was inevitable that Europeans would eventually come to the blues line of work themselves.”

While some accused the British players of ripping off American blues stars, in fact they brought a different level of velocity, virtuosity and abstraction to the form. Essentially, they applied the expansions of free jazz to the chord structures of the blues. “Everybody found their own style within that structure,” Mayall said.

John Mayall Plays John Mayall

Not that the older generation in the music industry understood what these young bucks were doing. Mayall says his label, Decca, hadn’t a clue what he was up to on his debut work, John Mayall Plays John Mayall a live album released in 1965. On the disc, he sang and played harmonica, organ and 9 string guitar, while Roger Dean served as the band’s first lead guitarist. “Decca washed their hands of me after that first album,” the musician said. “It didn’t sell well enough for their executives. But Mike Vernon, the producer, talked to them and, they thought, ‘if it’s okay with Mike, then.. Still, things might not have been okay for long had Mayall not made a crucial change in his band that year. On the small London music scene, he had heard buzz about a young guitarist in the band The Yardbirds—one Eric Clapton. At first, Mayall wasn’t interested. When The Yardbirds made that first big single, “For Your Love” it didn’t impress me very much,” Mayall said. “But it had a B-side, “Got To Hurry” which was an instrumental. That was the thing that knocked me out.”As it turned out, Clapton felt much the same way. He hated the pop direction of “For Your Love” enough to ditch the band. “I approached him to see if he wanted to join my band,” Mayall said. “All we were doing was playing blues and that’s exactly what Eric wanted.”

Clapton replaced the departed Roger Dean and the refigured band began to cut their teeth in the London clubs. Unfortunately, Clapton proved to be a mercurial soul, prone to moodiness and hard to control. Mere months after cutting some sides with the Bluesbreakers, he announced he was running off to play with a bunch of virtual amateur musicians he had met in a group called The Glands. The unflappable Mayall told Clapton he could always come back if he changed his mind. In the meantime, the band leader subbed in another promising young, blues-obsessed guitarist from the scene: Peter Green. By November of ’65 Clapton came to his senses, pushing Green out. The next year the reconstituted band recorded that first Bluesbreakers release, an instant classic. Mayall said he considered the album just “a nice opportunity to go into the studio and put down what we were doing live. We never realized it would have the success that it did.”

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Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton

‘Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton’ shot to to No. 6 on the U.K. Top Ten. The material on it included some original pieces by Mayall, who played keyboards and sang on the album. But mainly the repertoire emphasized covers of blues songs by artists like Otis Rush, Mose Allison and Little Walter. Clapton’s solos dominated the disc, fully earning the star billing he received on the cover. It was Mayall’s idea to highlight his impeccable contribution right on the album sleeve.

The album struck such a deep chord with the public, it inspired that famous graffiti scrawl in London, “Clapton Is God.” It also set the template for all the rock guitar heroes to come over the next decade. Some fans believe ‘Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton’ contains the most fiercely emotive work of the guitarist’s career. At the time of its release, however, Clapton had already met bassist Jack Bruce who, together with drummer Ginger Baker, had a notion for new kind of band—a power trio. Clapton formed that group Cream without telling Mayall, who found out the way everyone else did—by reading about it the music press.  One can hear the very direct influence of Buddy Guy and a handful of other American bluesmen in the playing. And lest anyone forget the rest of the quartet: future pop/rock superstar John McVie and drummer Hughie Flint provide a rock-hard rhythm section, and Mayall’s organ playing, vocalizing, and second guitar are all of a piece with Clapton’s work. His guitar naturally dominates most of this record, and he can also be heard taking his first lead vocal, but McVie and Flint are just as intense and give the tracks an extra level of steel-strung tension and power, none of which have diminished across several decades.

Remarkably, Mayall considered the surprise defection of his star attraction no big deal. “It was inevitable,” he said. “Eric and Jack wanted to do something different and Ginger Baker was there to talk them into it. From my point of view, this has always been simple. If somebody left the band, I found a replacement. And it seemed there was always somebody out there that I’d like to work with. As a bandleader I had the privilege to hire anybody I wanted.”

Mayall rallied by asking the 20 year old Peter Green to come back to the fold one year after he’d been shown the door. “He was a bit reluctant to trust that this job would be reliable,” the bandleader said. “Peter had the opportunity to work with The Animals and go to America. But because of his love of the blues, he decided he’d rather play in my band.”

John Mayall Bluesbreakers A Hard Road

Again, the chance to stick with pure blues became Mayall’s selling point for his young players. The result paid off with another Top Ten album, the critically hailed ‘A Hard Road,’ out in February of ’67. It featured two songs written by Green, and two sung by him. Green had a more economical style than Clapton, with a tone so sweet, B.B. King later said that it brought him to tears. Original pieces dominated ‘A Hard Road,’ most of them written by Mayall. As with Clapton, Green only remained with Mayall for a year, but when he left, he inspired a major defection, taking with him then drummer Mick Fleetwood—and bassist John McVie not soon after. Together, they formed Fleetwood Mac.

Even with so with another huge a blow to his band, Mayall kept an even-keel. It helped that he soon ferreted out another six-string master—18 year old Mick Taylor. Finding three such amazing players in a row makes Mayall seem like the brains behind Menudo, an act which subbed in new kids every time one got too old. Only in Mayall’s band, age wasn’t a factor and every young guitarist he hired turned out to be a genius.

John Mayall Crusade

The reborn band’s debut, ‘Crusade,” released in September of ’67, followed its predecessors path by shooting straight into the U.K. Top Ten. The music found Taylor in a commanding position. “He has a very elegant sound,” Mayall said. “He was more jazz influenced than Peter or Eric. but no one sounds like Mick, even today.”

The final album of an (unintentional) trilogy, Crusade is most notable for the appearance of a very young, pre-Rolling Stones Mick Taylor on lead guitar. Taylor’s performance is indeed the highlight, just as Eric Clapton and Peter Green’s playing was on the previous albums. The centerpiece of the album is a beautiful instrumental by Taylor titled “Snowy Wood,” which, while wholly original, seems to combine both Green and Clapton’s influence with great style and sensibility.

While it seems amazing that Mayall surfed so smoothly through all these fast changes, brisk switch-up weren’t at all unusual in the ’60s or early ’70s. The culture itself was moving at warp speed. Each year brought a whole new look, sound, and sensibility to the culture. The tender age of Mayall’s proteges also played a part. “They hadn’t much experience in playing,” he said. “They were in the process of finding their own style and finding out what they wanted to do in music. Being with my band helped them to develop rather more quickly than they might have done otherwise.”

“When one looks back you can see that speed,” of the changes, Mayall said. “But when you’re involved in it, you’re just doing a job, playing seven or eight gigs a week. You don’t have time to notice the big picture.”

John Mayall Bare Wires

To momentarily stave off more changes, Mayall pulled a fast one himself. He cut his next album The Blues Alone nearly entirely himself, penning all the songs and playing all the instruments save the one manned by drummer Keef Hartley. The album contains a rare example of Mayall playing lead guitar. It didn’t pay off commercially, but the bandleader rebounded strongly on 1968’s Bare Wires, his first album to crack the U.S. charts (reaching No. 59). “Wires” devoted a full side to a single suite, gave new reign to Taylor’s fluid guitar and provided a showcase for saxist extraordinaire Dick Heckstall-Smith.  The album began with a 23-minute “Bare Wires Suite,” which included more jazz influences than usual and featured introspective lyrics. In retrospect, all of this is a bit indulgent, but at the time it helped Mayallout of what had come to seem a blues straitjacket (although he would eventually return to a strict blues approach). It isn’t surprising that he dropped the “Bluesbreakers” name after this release.

Blues From Laurel Canyon (Remastered)

‘Wires’ marked the final album credited to the band name Bluesbreakers, but that wasn’t the strongest break Mayall made at that time. Late in ’68, he left England to take up full time residence in what was then the newest hotbed of musical creativity—Laurel Canyon. While that locale gave rise to the whole singer-songwriter renaissance, as well as to the CSNY axis of creativity, Mayall says he didn’t participate much in the scene. “The only person I met there was Frank Zappa,” he said. “But I fell in love with the place. It was everything I hoped America would be.”

Turning Point,

Mayall trumpeted that love on Blues From Laurel Canyon, a seamless work which ran all the songs together in rootsy reverie. Soaking up the mellow L.A. atmosphere had an even greater impact on his next album, aided by a key loss. In June of ’69 Taylor bolted to replace the just-deceased Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones. The jolt brought out something revolutionary in Mayall. For his next work—the aptly named The Turning Point.

Mayall ditched high-octane, top volume blues for an acoustic-based band that featured no drummer. “I just got tired of the same instrumentation,” the bandleader said. “With a drummer-less band, there are more dynamics and no one gets drowned out. People who heard about the album were very skeptical. Promoters were horrified that they were booking a band that had no drums. But I went ahead anyway.”

Mayall had key help from folk guitarist Jon Mark. A sensitive player, Mark had previously been part of an overlooked gem of a band, Sweet Thursday, which included piano wiz Nicky Hopkins and future Cat Stevens collaborator Alun Davies. For the new project, Mayall amped up the role of a sax and flute player he’d already collaborated with: Johnny Almond. Mayall’s inspiration for the radical project was the record The Train and The River by Jimmy Guiffry, which featured just guitar and sax. To nail the immediacy of his new approach, Mayall cut ‘The Turning Point’ live at The Fillmore East. One song, Room To Move became an FM staple, prized for its brisk rhythm and wild mouth-organ flourishes.

Empty Rooms

In this incarnation, the group put out one studio album, 1969’s Empty Rooms, Immediately afterwards, Mark and Almond broke off to form their own acoustic-jazz group, inventively named The Mark-Almond Band. Some thought they ran off with Mayall’s idea but the magnanimous bandleader prefers to view MAB simply as “a continuation” of the style. Either way, the defection paved the way for yet another creative leap, this one involving the dexterous guitarist Harvey Mandel (late of Canned Heat) and fusion violinist Don “Sugarcane” Harris. The latter had made key contributions to Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats as well as to great Mothers’ albums like Weasels Ripped My Flesh The new band issued USA Union in 1970, pushing the sound deeper into jazz while retaining the drummer-less motif. “For me, jazz and blues have always been intertwined,” Mayall said. “There’s no dividing line.”

Back to the Roots

As a perfect capper for Mayall’s classic era, he released Back To The Roots. in 1971, a work which briefly reunited him with Clapton, Taylor, Almond, and other great players from his past. Mayall says he has maintained good relationships with all of his starry graduates of his group in all the years since. Taylor, for one, has often returned to play with him. The bandleader harbors no jealousy for the successes his proteges have achieved with other bands, most of them far greater than his own. Mayall’s insistence on sticking with the blues, rather than moving into more pop friendly sounds, accounts for the disparity. He believes he had no choice in that. “Blues is the only thing I know how to play,” he said.

Over the past few decades, Mayall’s blues-rooted bands have given platforms to other significant, if less celebrated, guitarists, including Coco Montoya, Walter Trout and Buddy Whittington. His current band has no lead axeman at all, the better to let the three players shine. At 83, Mayall still tours 100 days of the year and records regularly. The latest album ranks as his 41st. “There’s never a shortage of ideas,” he said. “I just love music, and so I always want to explore it.

Image result for john mayall family tree

IORR

This week in 1974: The Rolling Stones scored their 5th US chart topping album with their 12th British & 14th American studio release, ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll’, released on Rolling Stones Records (it peaked at #2 in the UK); the LP’s success was fueled largely by its two main singles the title track & a cover of the 1966 Motown hit for The Temptations, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”  it was the first album that Keith Richards & Mick Jagger produced together for the band, under their adopted moniker of ‘The Glimmer Twins’

Recorded in the 1970s, ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)’ is as iconic a Rolling Stones song as any that the band cut in the 1960s. It is a song with a tangled web of a history having first been recorded on 24th July 1973, not in a traditional studio but at The Wick, Ronnie Wood’s home in Richmond. According to Bill Wyman, who admittedly wasn’t there, “On Tuesday 24th July, Mick and Keith went to Ronnie Wood’s house, the Wick in Richmond, and recorded a version of ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll’, with Ronnie, Kenney Jones, and Ian McLagan.” Ronnie, Jones and McLagan were all in The Faces along with Ronnie Lane and Rod Stewart. Other reports have David Bowie at Ronnie’s house, but that Keith was not there.
Whatever the truth that has been long forgotten, as to who was there and who wasn’t, this was the genesis of the song. Sometime later in the year Willie Weeks, an American session musician who worked with both George Harrison and David Bowie around this time, added bass to the song. In April 1974 the basic track that was recorded at Ronnie’s house was used to finish the song, at this time Ian Stewart added his distinctive piano to the track.

According to Mick, “The idea of the song has to do with our public persona at the time. I was getting a bit tired of people having a go, all that, ‘oh, it’s not as good as their last one’ business. The single sleeve had a picture of me with a pen digging into me as if it were a sword. It was a light hearted, anti-journalistic sort of thing.”

The song became the title track for their 1974 album and was released as a single on 26th July 1974, three months before the LP came out. But the record company at the time were not sure it was a single, According to Keith there was opposition to it, but as he said at the time, “That song is a classic. The title alone is a classic and that’s the whole thing about it.”

The Rolling Stones‘ official promo video for ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)’. The track is the title single from the album It’s Only Rock and Roll (1974). Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and produced by the Glimmer Twins, the song went straight to number one in the US charts when it was released.

The video features Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor dressed in sailor suits performing in a circus tent that fills with bubbles  that features the band in sailor suits, playing in a tent which gradually filled with bubbles. The froth was detergent and the reason they wore the sailor suits was because none of them wanted to ruin their own clothes. According to Keith, “Poor old Charlie nearly drowned… because we forgot he was sitting down.”

The video was directed by filmmaker Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who also directed the promo videos “Neighbours”, “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Child Of The Moon”. Lindsay-Hogg also directed promos for the Beatles and the Who.

It went top 20 in both America and the UK and has been played at just about every live show ever since.

In 1972 The Rolling Stones  With Stevie Wonder at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY July 26th

On JULY 26, 1972, Mick Jagger celebrated his 29th birthday on stage at Madison Square Garden as The Rolling Stones brought down the curtain on what was arguably the most chaotic tour of their career.

Promoting their Exile On Main St album, musically speaking The Stones were in ferocious form, as this rough-edged soundboard recording of Jumping Jack Flash taken from the soundboard at their NY show proves.

1972 was the year that the Rolling Stones became, as they loudly proclaimed on tour, the “Greatest Rock ’N’ Roll Band in the World!” Following the violent disaster of their Hell’s Angels–policed Altamont mega-festival outside of San Francisco on December 6th, 1969—where three people were killed in accidents and another, Meredith Hunter, was murdered—the Stones disappeared for a while. They went into exile, both real and imagined. Exile from the tax man in England that gazed hungrily on their collected bank accounts and exile as culture warriors—street fighting men—dedicated to the fanciful belief that they could change the world.

The Stones didn’t sit idle in their time out of from the spotlight. They locked themselves away in the sweaty, dank basement of Keith Richards’s mansion in Nellcôte, France, for months on end and came out with their magnum opus: Exile on Main Street. It was a double-album, 18 tracks total, that recounted the near-entire history of blues, country, soul and rock ’n’ roll in the grittiest, most exhilarating way imaginable. Released on May 12th, 1972, it sold nearly a million copies in its first week alone.

When plotting their upcoming tour of the United States, the band was intent on making a different impression than they had on their previous jaunt. These shows were going to produce some of the most in-demand tickets of all time, and the Stones and their handlers wanted to be professionals about it. They would do their best to mitigate the violence and mania that seemed to follow their every stop on their last tour, while moving through the country with a degree of style and class that rivaled any visiting foreign dignitary that the U.S. had ever hosted.

Everything about the outing was over the top. The Stones surrounded themselves with the beautiful and the important—Truman Capote, Hugh Hefner, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Woody Allen and Bob Dylan. They heavily courted the press. They blew their minds out with weed, cocaine and tequila, all while staging some of the most incredible sets of live rock music ever seen. Music was just part of what informed The Stones’ touring cavalcade. By this point in their career, the band had managed to bisect the worlds of music and celebrity, creating their own social enclaves, and enjoying what Keith Richards described as a piratical lifestyle.

Said the band’s tour manager of the time, Pete Rudge: “With the Stones you’ll meet Mick’s little gang – the Truman Capotes and the Princess Lee Radziwills. Then on the other hand you’ll meet Keith’s little gang – the Kenneth Angers and William Burroughs. You can be exposed to every aspect. You can meet anybody, and that tends to rub off.

Keith Richards Mick Jagger 1972

Over 500,000 people mailed in postcards for the mere chance to buy a pass to one of the four shows at Madison Square Garden. Purchases were limited to two per customer at a sticker price of $6.50, but the market was soon flooded with scalped passes that were being hawked at $50 or more.

After months of anticipation, the S.T.P. tour—which, depending on who you asked, either stood for the synthetic hallucinogenic of the same name or simply the Stones Tour Party—kicked off in Vancouver on June 3rd, 1972. The band and its managers picked this far-flung locale to start their summer swing so that they could knock off the rust before taking their show to more media-saturated markets in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The gig went well. The stop in Seattle went better, and by the time they made it to the Winterland Ballroom in the “City by the Bay,” they were cooking.

Over the next two months, the Rolling Stones and their coterie of crew members and hangers-on crisscrossed North America. At each stop along the way, the local citizenry paused their lives long enough to gawk at, rejoice in or denounce the “event of the year.” In Chicago, the band stayed at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion when they couldn’t get secure enough hotel rooms elsewhere. In Houston and Fort Worth, Texas, they brought out a Hollywood film crew to capture the show for posterity. Eventually, that footage would get chopped up and released as Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones.

A separate, more illicit documentary was also in the works that captured the band’s candid offstage exploits. That film, titled Cocksucker Blues, was produced by Stones manager Marshall Chess and directed by Robert Frank. Though it would never receive an official release, if you search down some of the darker corners of the Internet, it’s not too hard to find. Viewer discretion is advised.

“New York is New York is New York,” famed concert promoter Bill Graham explained to author Robert Greenfield, who tagged along for most of the tour and penned the book A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones. “’Til you do it there, it hasn’t happened. They could have sold the Garden out for a year. They are the biggest draw in the history of mankind. Only one other guy ever came close—Gandhi.”

New York was ready for the Stones, and the Stones were more than ready to take a bite out of the Big Apple. The band’s four shows spread over three nights at Madison Square Garden were the unquestioned highlights of the tour, with the final night pegged as the can’t-miss gig. Everyone wanted in on the action.

The scene backstage before the last show is a madhouse. Television host Dick Cavett is on hand to interview Mick Jagger and the rest of the band for an hour-long special. This famous face and that famous face drift in and out of view hoping to get a coveted moment of personal time with someone in the band before they make their way out in front of the masses. Few are successful. Makeup is applied, last-minute documents are signed and the tequila sunrises flow like water.

Before the Stones can take the stage at MSG, the audience is treated to a searing set of music from the opening act, Stevie Wonder, who is just then promoting his latest album, Music of My Mind while on the verge of putting out an even greater work, Talking Book. It was a huge coup for the headliners to get the Motown piano virtuoso at this precise moment. His single “Superstition” is one of the biggest songs of 1972, well on its way to claiming the top spot on the charts a few months down the road.

Stevie Wonder is the perfect foil for the Rolling Stones. He isn’t going to compete with them on their terms like another white blues-based rock band like Humble Pie or the Allman Brothers might. He’s a different thing entirely. His stage show, while rapturous, is centered on his superb musicianship, his incredible songwriting and his own joyful persona.

A little under an hour after Wonder leaves, the Stones make their grand entrance and launch into “Brown Sugar.” Jagger appears dazzling in his sleeveless white jumpsuit, dotted with big sparkling sequins, and a long red sash tethered at the waist. A single, large aquamarine jewel is glued to the center of his forehead. His main foil and “Glimmer Twin” Keith Richards, ever the rock ’n’ roll pirate, is decked out in black leather pants and a flowing, white blouse, which is left unbuttoned to reveal his gleaming white, sweat-glazed chest.

Jagger eats up most of the attention, hopping across the stage, preening like a prized turkey. His arms flail all around, pointing in multiple directions one moment and enticing the crowd to clap along in the next. “Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields / Sold in the market down in New Orleans.” The subject matter is chilling, but the thousands singing along sound positively ebullient shouting back each word at their puffy-lipped Messiah.

The pace picks up even more on the next song, “Bitch,” which is played at a far faster clip than the recorded version. By the time they get to “Gimme Shelter” they’re locked in. The shot of adrenaline that comes from getting smacked in the face by 18,000 people simultaneously has worn off, and the Stones settle into their regular groove.

“They had a unique lighting system that they invented,” photographer Bob Gruen told me. The rig was designed by Woodstock MC Chip Monck, who installed a 40-foot by 8-foot array of mirrors near the top of the front of the stage. It was set at a 45-degree angle and had lights shined into it and reflected back onto the band.

Gruen explained, “Up until then in arenas, you had a large spotlight called a Super Trooper, this big carbon arc light up around the rafters in the arena shining down on the stage. They had eight Super Troopers at the back of the stage shining into this Mylar mirror, shining back onto the band. It was the brightest show I’ve ever seen.”

The Stones hit their marks with precision. Keith sounds appropriately cheery during his turn on the microphone for “Happy.” Charlie Watts keeps the party chugging along, crashing cymbals and kicking the hell out of his bass drum on “Bye Bye Johnny.” Mick Taylor sounds like a man possessed during his regular extended solo on “Midnight Rambler,” proving that he is the best pure musician in the band.

Still, it’s Jagger that the fans have come to see, and he doesn’t disappoint. The singer remains the ultimate icon of style and panache. Even with all the obvious effort and energy he expends on stage, he does so in a way that screams cool. When they reach the final song of the main set, “Street Fighting Man,” he’s flinging blood red rose petals over the heads of those screaming their vocal cords to shreds in the front row.

The night isn’t quite over yet. A few moments pass and the band reemerges for a rare encore with Stevie Wonder in tow to perform the latter’s hit “Uptight (Everything’s Alright).” As that song comes to an end, Richards kicks into the instantly recognizable riff to “Satisfaction,” and he and the rest of the band take flight.

The performance is breathtaking. Bobby Keys’s sax mingles with Wonder’s backing band, transforming the straight-ahead rocker into a full, swinging soul sensation. Jagger is giving everything he’s got left in the tank, pushing his voice harder and harder, straining to be heard above the cacophony.

As the last notes of their biggest hit ping across the cavernous walls of the basketball arena, a giant, burning cake is brought onto the stage to commemorate Jagger’s 29th birthday. The crowd is enticed to sing “Happy Birthday.” Somewhere, someone picks up a pie and a full-on food fight takes place in front of thousands of fans. Only Watts seems to be off-limits from the chaos. Once the supply of pies runs out, Mick jumps forward to give the crowd a salute and then he and the rest of the band depart for the last time.

A few hours later, the Stones and their crew, along with a host of the well-to-do, find themselves at the St. Regis Hotel to take part in a final party hosted by Atlantic Records head Ahmet Ertegun. In jarring contrast to the friendly atmosphere inside the Garden, the mood here is almost somber. Everyone in the band are all physically and emotionally spent. The party wraps sometime around dawn and they all scatter to the wind.

Set List

Brown Sugar
Bitch
Rocks Off
Gimme Shelter
Happy
Tumbling Dice
Love in Vain
Sweet Virginia
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
All Down the Line
Midnight Rambler
Bye Bye Johnny
Rip This Joint
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Street Fighting Man
Uptight (Everything’s Alright)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Musicians:

Mick Jagger: Vocals
Keith Richards: Guitar
Mick Taylor: Guitar
Charlie Watts: Drums
Bill Wyman: Bass
Bobby Keys: Saxophone

chek out Corbin Reiff who will release his first-ever book, Lighters in the Sky: The All-Time Greatest Concerts, 1960-2016. 

1973 European tour poster

During the Rolling Stones’ 1973 tour of Europe, the band would usually end the show with their 1968 single (and Beggars Banquet album track), “Street Fighting Man.” On occasion, the Stones’ performance of the tune on the ‘73 jaunt could be magical. One such version was professionally recorded—and bootlegged—eventually seeing official release in 2011, before fading back into obscurity.

“Street Fighting Man,” like most of the Rolling Stones’ best stuff from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, is not only a fucking great song, but the studio version sounds cool.
Believe it or not, what you’re hearing during the opening moments of is Keith Richards’ acoustic guitar, which was recorded using a cheap cassette deck, giving it an overloaded, electric character. Charlie Watts used a 1930s practice drum kit on the intro, also captured with the tape recorder, the thin tone of the kit adding to the lo-fi effect. As the song progresses, Indian instruments are heard, giving the track a psychedelic quality. One of those instruments, the shehnai (essentially an Indian oboe) produces the wailing sound heard towards the end of the song. Mick Jagger’s lyrics—is he calling for revolution?—are open to interpretation. Jagger’s words, and the fact that his vocals are partially buried in the mix, contribute to the mysterious nature of “Street Fighting Man.”

Street Fighting Man - French picture sleeve

In support of their new record, Goat’s Head Soup, the Stones launched the 1973 European trek on September 1st in Vienna. Though significantly less dramatic than their infamous 1972 U.S. tour, the outing still had its moments. Take this one, in which saxophonist Bobby Keys quits the band right before the first of two scheduled performances that were to take place in Brussels, Belgium, on October 17th. In his autobiography, Life, Richards describes the scene:

No sign of Bobby at the band assembly that day, and finally I was asked if I knew where my buddy was—there had been no reply from his hotel room. So I went to his room and said, Bob, we gotta go, we gotta go right now. He’s got a cigar, bathtub full of champagne and this French chick in [the tub] with him. And he said, fuck off. So be it.

The Rolling Stones had booked the shows in Brussels due to its proximity to France, as they were banned from entering the country after behaving badly while recording Exile on Main St. in Villefranche-sur-Mer. The Brussels gigs took place at the Forest National Arena.

Ticket stub

With a live album in mind, the Rolling Stones recorded both Brussels performances. Though the live LP idea was eventually scrapped, the public did eventually get to hear portions of the Belgian recordings via the syndicated radio program, The King Biscuit Flower Hour in both stereo and FM quadraphonic 4-track. Naturally, the KBFH broadcast was subsequently bootlegged.

Brussels Affair bootleg cover

On the Brussels recordings, the Stones—augmented by keyboardist Billy Preston, as well a horn section—are in fine form, for sure, but the absolute highlight of the tapes is the version of “Street Fighting Man,” the final song played during each of their sets that day. From the get-go, the energy of the band is palpable. Keith, especially, stands out, as he doesn’t seem to be playing his guitar as much as stabbing the thing, but it’s when Mick Taylor steps on his wah-wah pedal (in place of the shehnai) that this rendition starts to become spectacular. As the number continues, Bill Wyman’s bass swoops, the horns squeak and squawk, and the tempo increases and increases until the music ceases to be just that, morphing into a riotous, stunning wave of sound.

In 2011, after decades of praise from fans who heard the Brussels tapes, the Stones finally granted the release of a selection of the recordings. Nicking the title from one of the bootlegs of the Belgium gigs, Brussels Affair (Live 1973) was made available as a download via Google Play and the Rolling Stones’ website, as well as a limited edition box Set . But the box is now out-of-print, and, for some reason, you can’t even buy the download anymore. Currently, the only way you can pick up the release (through official channels, that is) is if you splurge for the japanese set.  I bought the download when it came out, and can say that the recordings, given a fresh remix by Bob Clearmountain, sound stellar (much better than what’s heard above, which is from the bootleg version).

The live footage of “Street Fighting Man” is from the second of two shows the Stones played in Frankfurt on September 30th, 1973. Per usual, it was the closing song of their set.

 

 

The 1969 gig at London’s Hyde Park will be next in The Rolling Stones ‘From the Vault’ series, From The Vault is a series of live concerts from The Rolling Stones archive which are getting their first official release. `Hyde Park 1969` is the latest addition to the series. It was one of the most highly anticipated gigs of 1969 and it delivered on all the promise and then some. On July 5, 1969, the Rolling Stones hosted their iconic free concert in London`s Hyde Park. Having taken two years off from the road, the show was conceived as the beginning of the band`s big return to the live stage. It was also planned as an introduction of their hot new guitar player, Mick Taylor. The former disciple of British blues legend John Mayall had been inducted into the Stones just a month prior. Over 400,000 delirious fans of all ages gathered into the park for the concert. The Stones` concert in London`s Hyde Park would pay homage to the late Brian Jones and usher in the new and extraordinary era of Mick Taylor (1969-74) as a Rolling Stones member.