By Jeremy Miles
Former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor – a man who has wandered through the lobbies of five star hotels all over the world with barely a second glance – was clearly fascinated by his relatively modest lodgings in Bournemouth on Sunday night.
Standing in the rock ‘n’ roll themed Bourne Beat Hotel he surveyed the memorabila, posters and photographs that crowd the walls. "This is amazing, there’s everyone here from The Beatles to Maurice Chevalier," he said as he inspected the collection lovingly assembled by owner Dave Robinson.
Taylor who was in town with his All Star Blues Band for a gig at nearby Landmarc had agreed to officially "open" the hotel in return for a meal for the band and a bed for the night. He duly signed a guitar – a Les Paul Gibson copy – and posed for an obligatory photo or ten with the ever enthusiastic Mr Robinson.
There wasn’t actually anyone much there to witness this monumental moment but it was a shrewd move. As a former record company finance man Robinson knows that being seen to have the right connections can do wonders for a reputation. Earlier in the week he told me: "I figured the two surviving Beatles were otherwise engaged so I got a Rolling Stone to open the hotel instead."
There may be those that take issue with this statement. After all it's more than 30 years since Taylor was actually a Rolling Stone. But that's being picky. He played on some of the band's greatest recordings at a crucial time in their history. He is forever associated with them. It's like that with the Stones. You can check-out but you can never leave.
So it was that VIP, guest of honour, 'Rolling Stone' Mick Taylor held court with maybe a dozen fans at Bourne Beat. He and the band took to the place with some glee, happily perusing the extraordinary collection of rock 'n' roll memories relating to acts that have played Bournemouth over the past 45 years. These of course included his erstwhile band-mates from the Stones and many other friends including Bob Dylan who he toured and recorded with, playing gigs that he now tellingly refers to as "the highpoint of my career so far."
And so to the nearby Landmarc venue where Taylor, a big likeable bear of a man, proved beyond doubt that his extraordinary CV that so far includes not only his work with Dylan and five years with the Rolling Stones but significant stints with John Mayall, Jack Bruce, Little Feat, Buddy Guy and Carla Bley too has a way to go yet.
Backed by a virtuosos band of seasoned session men with Denny Newman on guitar, Kuma Harada on bass, Max Middleton on keyboards and Jeff Allen on drums he showed that he is still a sublime blues guitar player.
He delivered classics that included Muddy Waters’ You Shook Me, the old Mayall favourite Fed Up With The Blues, Stones classics Can’t You Hear Me Knocking and No Expectations and the brilliant Dylan-penned Blind Willie McTell which came complete with a joyous diversion into All Along The Watchtower. A vintage evening!