Mick Taylor

Mick Taylor Collection

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Because Mick Taylor never established himself as a significant solo artist or bandleader, this nearly two-hour unauthorized DVD isn't so much a collection of Taylor clips as an anthology of performances he gave as part of other bands. When those other artists include the Rolling Stones, Mike Oldfield, Jack Bruce, and John Mayall, however, some good music is guaranteed, whether or not you're a particular Taylor fan. The clip with Mayall, unfortunately, amounts to nothing more than a brief bit from a Mayall documentary, with no significant performance footage. The three tracks from his first concert (at Hyde Park in July 1969) with the Rolling Stones are better, but be warned that these have been issued as bonus material on the official DVD release of that concert, so the kind of fanatics likely to pick up this bootleg in the first place might already have them in their collection. After an extensive trailer for the Ladies & Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones Film, we then come to the unexpected highlight of the disc: a 25-minute live 1973 performance (source unidentified, though it looks like a TV broadcast) of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" in excellent quality, though here Taylor's just part of a mini-orchestra of sorts with about ten players. Then follows another big find: an hour-long 1975 BBC television concert by the short-lived incarnation of the Jack Bruce Band in which Taylor played, preceded by an interview with Bruce and Taylor. Also including major jazz artist Carla Bley on keyboards, future Knack (!) drummer Bruce Gary, and keyboardist Ronnie Leahy, this group never put out a record while Taylor was in the band, making this program a lost album of sorts. Unfortunately, while the image quality and transfer are OK, the music's kind of disappointing, dominated by Bruce's ponderous songs. These are a little like his more ambitious Cream tunes without the pop-friendliness, adding a lot of gloomy, arty jazzy pretensions. Too, Taylor's role in the music isn't as large as one might have guessed, and doesn't bear much relationship to the blues-rock for which he's renowned; based on this evidence, it seems unsurprising that his partnership with Bruce didn't stick. If only for the gap it fills in for our knowledge of what this band sounded like, however, it's a significant if underwhelming document. Sadly, the final clip, of Taylor playing in Chris Jagger's band in 2003, is awful from almost every angle: there's bad camera work, sound, and singing, and the song goes on way too long, though you can tell Taylor's still got his chops when he solos.