TAYLOR, MICK - CD
LIVE AT SOLANA BEACH WITH THE JAMES HARMAN BAND

LABEL:
DAR 767
SOURCE:
Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach 6 February 1991 2nd show (allegedly)
FORMAT:
2 downlioad cdrs
RUNNING TIME:
74.03/72.26
SOUND/SOURCE:
Audience stereo
PACKAGING:
Double Slimline Jewel case
 


***image2***

SOUND 9.5 / PACKAGING 7 / PERFORMANCE 10

 
TRACK LIST:

Disc One: 1. It’s Alright Now, 2. Talk With My Baby, 3. I Declare, 4. Mick’s Introduction-You Shook Me, 5. Laundromat Blues, 6. Swamp Thing, 7. You Got To Lose, 8. You Got To Move, 9. Instrumental, 10. Extra Night, 11. Keep It To Yourself.

Disc Two: 1. Crazy By Degrees, 2. Nitro, 3. Red House, 4. Love Don't Mean A Thing, 5. Little Red Rooster, 6. The Stumble, 7. Oh Baby.

 
REVIEW:

This release presents the very first attempt to join forces between the renowned player Mick Taylor and Alabama born blues hero James Harman with his band. The recording is very nice and well balanced, just the last number is cut, and it is accompanied by a review of the concert courtesy of Jim Washburn (L.A. Times), the author was previously the roadie/guitar technician for the James Harman Band.

This review is, however, full of contradictions, like “You might think that the combination of a genuine British blues-rock guitar hero with one of America’s most authentic and exciting blues bands would result in a deeper shade of blues. But while the teaming of former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor and Orange County’s James Harman Band on Wednesday at the Belly Up Tavern did have some moments of pure indigo, the combination just as often showed how incompatible varying schools of blues can be.

Taste is a very relative thing, and Taylor came up in a musical framework founded on excess. It was with the British guitarists that solos came to be judged as sporting events, where quantifiable items such as speed, volume and sustain were revered. While some undeniably great music resulted, its players generally went for the obvious sucker punch, rarely becoming immersed in the depths to be found in American blues styles.

The Southern California blues scene, conversely, abounds in players thoroughly steeped in those styles, and who possess a rich, nuance-laden vocabulary and innate feel for the music--not to mention a greater spirit of invention born from that firmer base. After one has heard such local luminaries as the Harman Band’s Joel Foy, ex-Harman player David (Kid) Ramos, Junior Watson and the Mighty Flyers’ Alex Schultz, most so-called guitar gods who dabble in the blues can’t help but seem like boys sent out to do a man’s work,”

Having said so, then we read: “It may have been inevitable that Taylor and the Harman band’s disparate styles would clash onstage on wednesday, what with only one rehearsal the previous day under their belts. If it was one of the better clashes one could hope to see--plenty of fine music came from both sides--there also was a sense of missed potential, of what could result were their approaches reconciled”.

So, did they clash with a resulting failure to excite the audience or did their approaches reconcile?

Let’s forget about stupid remarks about “so called guitar gods etc.” (see above) and just compare the careers of Taylor and Harman and the impact they both had on white blues. Again:

“The Harman band opened both sets with three numbers on their own, including tunes from their new album. The present band line-up behind singer/harpist Harman consists of guitarist Foy, bassist Jeff Turmes and drummer Steve Mugalian. They possibly gave Taylor the best band setting he’s enjoyed since, say, 1974 (sic) and there were moments when he seemed to revel in the company. The material fell into two camps: blues-standard guitar showcase numbers, with Taylor providing serviceable vocals, and Harman band tunes on which Taylor joined in. It was in that latter category--when Taylor actually concentrated on playing in a band context and on having his solos serve the song--that his formidable talents were best served. (Nevertheless, the delicate art of backing a harp solo seems beyond him).

On Harman’s Slim Harpo-derived Swamp Thang, You’ve Got to Lose and the jumping Nitro, Taylor displayed a masterful touch; whether working the fret-board with his fingers or a slide, he still has one of the most distinctive vibratos around, with an expressive, crying, human tone few guitarists can match. On a couple of numbers, Harman coaxed him into an engaging call-and-response, with Taylor answering Harman’s wailing harmonica phrases.

There was also some fine playing in Taylor’s showcase numbers, but often he seemed adrift, playing solo after solo with no dramatic construction or sense of purpose. There was some genuine intimacy and communication in his playing on Jimi Hendrix’s Red House and Freddie King’s The Stumble, but it was largely diluted by his interminable, formless soloing.

Such extended workouts don’t have to be emotional dead-ends, as Foy displayed on the Magic Sam and Otis Rush-influenced Crazy by Degrees. Foy looks rather more like a professor or rock critic than a blues guitarist and his technically tremendous playing can at times seem too studied. On wednesday, though, his fire was equal to his skill, and, in the brief windows afforded by Taylor’s busy playing, he really burned. Taylor still possesses a beautiful talent--though it has perhaps been numbed by years of unfocused guitar hero-dom and one can only presume that he will benefit from this association”.

Speculations apart the combination of Taylor’s guitar prowess and Harman average harp playing did not achieve anything on record, so we are left with few concert recordings like this to imagine what could have been, but was not.


The best toys are the ones that are both educational and multi-purposeful.
Great Toys For Tots

 

Don't miss our new Top Vinyl List of the Departed
you’ll find something to tickle your fancy and your ears

 

TAYLOR, MICK

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Mar 31, 2021 - 11:23:03 AM

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