Mick Taylor's Stranger in This Town was recorded mostly in Sweden in the summer of 1989, except for "Little Red Rooster," recorded in Germany, and "You Gotta Move," the traditional blues number found on the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers, recorded in Philadelphia in December of 1989. This is a blues album, make no doubt about it, and it is one of Taylor's finest. Co-produced by the guitarist and Phil Colella, the performances feature former Jeff Beck sideman Max Middleton on keyboards, Shane Fontayne on guitar, Wilbur Bascomb on bass, and Eric Parker on drums. Only "You Gotta Move" has different musicians, Joel Diamond on keys and Beach Boy Blondie Chaplin on guitar. Keith Richard producer Rob Fraboni re-mixed the title track, as well as the almost six minute version of one of Taylor's favorite Stones tunes, "Jumpin' Jack Flash." It's the most rock & roll song here, Taylor's voice lending itself well to the song. Carol Bernson's photographs of the rock legend are something to behold; Taylor under a blue light performing with his shadow reflecting on the floor adorns the back of the CD, as well as the inside four-page booklet. The front cover has the journeyman with his guitar and a long, black coat, and there's an impressive black-and-white portrait inside the booklet. He performs Albert King's "I Wonder Why" and "Laundromat Blues," citing King in the liner notes as "a big influence, and a man who is wise and whom I respect and admire." He calls Jimi Hendrix a genius, genuine, and "the greatest guitar player who ever lived," and pays tribute to him with a superb version of "Red House," which is combined with James Oden's "Goin' Down Slow." The Santana feel that Taylor brought to "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" by the Stones lives again in his co-write "Goin' South," which, at ten minutes and 20 seconds, contains some of Taylor's finest guitar work on the record. Maze had a distribution deal with A&M in Canada when this was released in 1990, but the label didn't have the resources in this pre-Internet time to deliver such a beautiful album to a mass audience. If only Stranger in This Town was the album Mick Taylor released on Columbia when he first left the Rolling Stones. Were that the case, he would have had the opportunity to enjoy the popularity of a Buddy Guy or B.B. King, and the general public would have a better understanding of this superb and highly underrated artist. Musicians know, and all the evidence needed is on this disc.
AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione