Rolling Stones – The Mick Taylor Years (RSMT 52143 – 5987 – 6)

The Mick Taylor Years (RSMT  52143 – 5987 – 6)

CD 1 Live In Germany various locations 1973:  Brown Sugar (Sept. 28, 2nd show Munich), Gimme Shelter (Oct. 2 nd show Hamburg),  Happy, Tumbling Dice (Oct. 10, Essen), Star Star (Oct. 2, Hamburg), Dancing With Mr. D., Angie, You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Oct. 10, Essen), Gimme Shelter, Happy, Star Star, All Down The Line, Rip This Joint (Oct. 17, Brussels second show)

CD 2: Live in Europe various locations 1973:  Brown Sugar, Star Star (Sept 13, Newcastle), Dancing With Mr. D. (Sept. 9, London), Angie (Sept 13, Newcastle), Midnight Rambler (Sept. 9, London), Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Oct.2, Hamburg), Gimme Shelter, Happy, Star Star, All Down The Line, Rip This Joint (Oct. 15, Antwerpen), Street Fighting Man (Sept. 30, Frankfurt), Jumping Jack Flash (April 28, 1968, London)

CD 3: Live in West Australia Cricket Ground, Perth, Australia – February 24, 1973:  Brown Sugar, Bitch, Rocks Off, Gimme Shelter, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Love In Vain, Sweet Virginia, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Honky Tonk Women, All Down The Line, Midnight Rambler, band introduction / happy birthday Nicky Hopkins, Little Queenie, Rip This Joint 

CD 4: Live in Royal Radwick Racecourse, Sydney, Australia – February 27, 1973:  Brown Sugar, Bitch, Rocks Off, Gimme Shelter, Happy, Tumbling Dice, Love In Vain, Sweet Virginia, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Honky Tonk Woman, All Down The Line, Midnight Rambler, Introductions, Little Queenie, Rip This Joint, Jumping Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man

CD 5 Exile On Main Street outtakes 1971:  Get A Line On You, Shake Your Hips, Good Time Woman, Sweet Virginia, Sweet Black Angel, Loving Cup, Let It Loose, All Down The Line, Stop Breakin’ Down, Shine A Light, Exile On Main Street Blues, All Down The Line, Sweet Virginia, Stop Breaking Down, Shine A Light, Loving Cup, All Down The Line 

CD 6 various acetates 1971-1974:  Silver Train, Criss Cross Man 1, Criss Cross Man 2, Hide Your Love, 100 Years Ago, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, If You Can’t Rock Me, Till The Next Goodbye, Drift Away, Dance Little Sister, Fingerprint File, Brown Sugar, Brown Sugar, Bitch, Let It Rock, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg 

CD 7 Olympic Sound Studios 1968-1970:  Jiving Sister Fanny, I’m Going Down, I Don’t Know Why, Hamburger To Go, Downtown Suzie, Blood Red Wine, Travellin’ Man, Family, Still A Fool, Family(Retake), Leather Jacket, Dancing In The Light, Potted Shrimp, Aladdin Story, I Was Just A Country Boy, Who Am I?, Trident Jam

CD 8 Sticky Fingers Outtakes 1969-1971:  Brown Sugar, Brown Sugar, Brown Sugar, Sway, Wild Horses, Wild Horses, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, You Gotta Move, Bitch, Sister Morphine, Dead Flowers, Bitch, Brown Sugar, Let It Rock

CD 9 Burnet Recording Studio, Dallas, TX – June 23, 1972:  Jungle Disease 1, Jungle Disease 2, Tar And Feathered Blues, Hats Off To Slim Harpo, Let It Loose, Gimme Shelter, Jam, Ventilator Blues 1, Ventilator Blues 2, Delta Slide, Memphis Jam

CD 10 Burnet Recording Studio, Dallas, TX – June 23, 1972:  Sweet Black Angel / Don’t Lie To Me, Tabasco Jam, Shake Your Hips, Let It Loose, Texarkana Jam, Shave ’em Dry, Key To The Highway, 32-20 Blues, When You Got A Good Friend, Torn And Frayed, The Last Time, Satisfaction, Monkey Man, Whips Crack & Tiger’s Snarl

CD 11 Live In Leeds 1971:  Dead Flowers, Stray Cat Blues, Love In Vain, Midnight Rambler,  Bitch, introduction, Honky Tonk Women, Satisfaction, Little Queenie, Brown Sugar, Street Fighting Man, Let It Rock

CD 12, various performances of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

DVD, Buenos Aires, Argentina – June 11, 1993: Reina, Satisfaction, Vicio, Rock Del Gato, Cowboy, Juana De Arco.  Leather Jacket, Little Red Rooster, Talk To Me Baby (with Chris Jagger), No Expectations, Reelin’ And Rockin’, Alabama, interview + Secret Affair

Box sets are a strange thing.  They usually gather together previously released material with the intent of reconceptualizing their material and the results are usually a mixed bag.  While some of the material may be strong and worth having, there is also a fair amount of filler included which for many collectors ruins the experience.  The Mick Taylor Years is a new set intending to present the best sound quality live, studio and rehearsal material from what is considered to be the most exciting and musically important period in The Rolling Stones’ long history.  And while there certainly is great sounding  material, none of it is particularly rare.  Further, since the discs are for the most part straight copies of older titles, some of the errors in them have not been addressed or corrected.  

The first disc is an incomplete copy of The Stars In The Sky They Never Lie (Midnight Beat MB CD 141) released in 1997.  This is a collection of soundboard fragments from the final tour the Stones did with Taylor in the band sequenced to replicate the set list of the era.  In general it is in very good sound quality.  “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo,” while announced by Jagger on the disc, is absent as is “Street Fighting Man.”  Also “All Down The Line” appears twice.  First is the opening two and a half minutes, and then the full track tracked with “Rip This Joint.”  Two second gaps appear between each of the songs as well.  The sound quality for the Brussels material is mono and appears in much improved sound quality on other releases.  The second disc is a copy of Reflections Of A Stone Alone (Vinyl Gang VGP-043) released about the same time as the Midnight Beat.  This also contains soundboard fragments from the same tour.  “Gimme Shelter” to “Rip This Joint” labeled as October 15th in Antwerp are actually from the Brussels October 17th late show, same as on the first disc so there is an unnecessary duplication of material. 

The third disc contains the February 24th, 1973 Perth soundboard fragment that first surfaced in 1987 on a German LP.  This box set copies in total the old 1990 The Swingin’ Pig release Rocks Off!  Most of the show is but “Love In Vain,” “Sweet Virginia,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and “Rip This Joint” are edited in from the February 26th Sydney show.  Other titles that include Perth (and only Perth) include Exiles Afternoon (Rock A While RS 91-01-01) and its clone Exiles Afternoon “Revisited” (Turd On The Run TOTR-OO1) both with tracks from the 1972 Dallas rehearsals, Back Strap Jacket (Tarantura TCDRS 3-1, 2) and more recently on Happy Birthday Nicky (Dog N Cat DAC-017 where it is paired with the Sydney soundboard) and Happy Birthday Nicky (Halcyon).  The sound quality is great, but it is strange they copied the old title with the Sydney material edited in without making a notation in the liner notes. 

Disc four has the February 27th Sydney soundboard.  This recording first surfaced in 1993 and is the only complete concert from the soundboard from the Mick Taylor era.  It is a good sounding soundboard, although a notch below the Perth and first Syndney recordings.  For such a good recording it has not been issued many times.  It appears on Welcome To Australia (Vinyl Gang VGP-110), All  Meat Music (Vinyl Gang VGP-055) (missing “Rip This Joint” and “Jumping Jack Flash”) and Back Strap Jacket (Tarantura TCDRS 3-1, 2).  This disc sounds like a copy of VGP-110.  The first ten tracks on disc five are copied from Wingless Angels (VGP-153), a collection of Exile era outtakes and several songs from Plug In Flush Out.  The rest of the disc is filled with other Exile On Main Streetouttakes including the flexi disc recording “Exile On Main Street Blues” and the US single “All Down The Line.” 

The sixth disc is a direct copy of the 1995 release Acetates (Midnight Beat MB CD 045).  This contains unmixed versions of various songs from Goat’s Head Soup and It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll plus “Drift Away” and “Criss Cross Man” (aka “Save Me”) in excellent quality.  The final three songs on the disc are in mono instead of stereo.  These are said to come from acetates, but there are not surface noises that one usually heard on such source material.  The seventh disc is a copy of  The Trident Mixes (DAC-052).  The sound quality is excellent, but this material appears on many different Stones outtake collections and is very common.  The same is true for the next disc, which is a straight copy of Tricky Fingers & Slicky Ringers (Luna Records LU 9316).  It should be noted that “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” mentioned in the set list is not an outtake but a live audience recording from a Mick Taylor gig in at the Lonestar Cafe New York on December 22nd and 23rd, 1986.  Keith Richards joined the band for this song and is a great track to hear, but it is out of place on this disc.

Discs nine and ten are a copy of Dallas Rehearsals 1972 (DAC-008) which documents their June 23rd, 1972 rehearsal sessions in Dallas.  The eleventh disc is a copy of Get Your Leeds Lungs Out(TSP-CD-030) documenting most of the March 13th, 1971 show at Leeds University.  The most recent release of that material on Halcyon is clearly superior to this and makes one wonder why the manufacturers didn’t copy it.  Finally, the final audio disc contains twenty-three different Taylor solos (and only the solos) from “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” from various sources.  This strategy was employed by Robert Fripp on the 2002 King Crimson release Ladies From The Road which contains and hour of solos from “21st Century Schizoid Man” from 1971 and 1972.  This disc is tedious since it repeats the same three minutes repeatedly, and frustrating since when you want to song to continue it cuts out only to go to the next solo. 

The DVD contains an pro-shot copy of a show with Ratones Paranoicos with Mick Taylor as special guest.  In addition there are seven more Mick Taylor tracks from various places, all audience shot.  The final footage is his appearance on the Canadian morning show “Secret Affair.”  The discs are housed in plastic sleeves within a pretty looking cardboard box and a thick booklet with photos from the era and track listings.  Like many boxsets, there are some things on here that are good and some things that are bad.  Listening through this gives the impression that the  manufacturers should have spend more time with this project, gathering better and more complete material in the best possible sources.  As it is, this is a good but flawed set that will not appeal to everybody.  (GS) 

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