I had no idea that someone had made bootleg recordings of the Corky Laing All Star shows in early June 1998, featuring Mick Taylor, Mark Clarke, Lester Chambers (of the Chambers Brothers), Gerry Moll (an exceptionally talented local conga player) and myself, until they recently surfaced on the internet. I had met Mick a few months earlier at a mutual friend's house and was a little surprised, but definitely happy, when he agreed to play at one of my Corky Laing All Star shows at the Tip-Toe Club in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
I've had the great fortune to work with some brilliant guitarists, and I definitely count Mick Taylor among the very best of them. Mick is one of those unique guitarists who plays the truth. His choice of notes is marked by absolute honesty. And my personal favorites are his blue notes. They are bluer than blue and as true as the rain.
Those gigs at the crowded Tip-Toe Club, which was basically just a neighborhood bar, were a lot of fun. We weren't a polished act, but we played fresh and jammed a lot. We had a list of songs that we would randomly call out as the shows went on. Mick had indicated to me that he wasn't too keen on playing "Can You Hear My Knocking", but as it was one of my favourite songs, I couldn't resist - and I knew deep down he liked the song too. And sure enough, as soon as the percussion rhythms - Gerry on congas and me on drums - started the song, Mick got right in and played along. The audience loved the Rolling Stones repertoire, but seemed to appreciate the rest just as much.
You've probably heard many of these tracks before, but here the notes are interpreted by one of the best blues guitarists around. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to get a song right, but there are musical gems here that I still enjoy listening to again to this day. On the Cream numbers, it occasionally sounds like multiple guitarists are playing, but don't be fooled, it's just the superior talent of Mick Taylor. Since the gigs were recorded without our permission, the balances aren't as good as they could be, but they do put Mick's guitar up front where it belongs. Unfortunately, the vocals suffer as a result. However, I'm very glad to hear Mark Clarke's particularly excellent work on Theme From An Imaginary Western.
Those were good times and I am thrilled to be able to share them with you!
I hope you enjoy them! (Corky Laing)