Casual fans may know only Mick Jagger’s strut and sneer, and Keith Richards’ seemingly unlikely hold on life, but the years during which Mick Taylor was the fifth Rolling Stone are often regarded as part of the band’s golden age, the period in which the group recorded some of the
finest and most adventurous music of their career.
On landmark albums like Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street, the Stones’ sound underwent a metamorphosis as they developed new ideas and were informed by a range of new influences. At the center of those changes was Taylor’s sophisticated blues and jazz licks, and fluid style of playing that really gave the Stones an added dimension for a five-year period stretching into the mid-1970s — one they lacked before and have certainly had much trouble recapturing since.
New to DVD, hour-long doc The Rolling Stones 1969-1974: The Mick Taylor Years tells the behind-the-scenes story of this hugely productive era for the group. Interviews with Taylor and John Mayall form the spine of the work, but the roster of talking heads is deep, formidable and well-heeled, including author and group colleague Robert Greenfield; Village Voice music editor Robert Christgau, U.K. music critic Barney Hoskyns and Stones session musicians Al Perkins and Bill Plummer, among others. While a lot of music documentaries targeting boomer audiences run ashore on the shoals of rights issues and ergo tend to err on the side of academic dryness, this program thankfully also includes liberal performance footage of the Stones, as well as a nice smattering of archive interviews and other footage. While it doesn’t totally get to the bottom of how others necessarily felt about Taylor’s departure (punted or otherwise muddied songwriting credits were an issue, it seems), this title is an engaging and intellectually honest exploration of the difficulties inherent in nurturing creative relationships amidst a backdrop of druggy, world-touring excess.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, The Rolling Stones 1969-1974: The Mick Taylor Years comes to DVD on a region-free disc in a regular plastic Amaray case, in turn stored in a cardboard slipcover. The feature is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, with a fairly robust English language stereo sound mix. In addition to a roster of contributor biographies, DVD extras include a featurette in which Mayall and music historian Alan
Clayson provide a nice biographical sketch of Taylor prior to his entry with the Rolling
Stones. To purchase the DVD, click here. Or if Amazon is totally and inescapably your thing, click here. B (Movie) C+ (Disc)