Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Larry Taylor (1942–2019)

The bass guitarist Larry Taylor has died at the age of seventy-seven. Billboard has an obituary. Larry played with musicians as various as Jerry Lee Lewis, the Monkees, and Tom Waits, but he is best known for his long tenure with Canned Heat.

I’ve been a Canned Heat fan since 1968 or so. In 2010 my son Ben and I went to hear the band in Effingham, Illinois. Story and photographs in this post. Ben was a good sport. I was in bliss, getting to meet and talk with Larry and Canned Heat’s long-serving, almost-only drummer, Fito de la Parra.

Here’s Canned Heat at Woodstock: Bob Hite, Alan Wilson (Gibson Les Paul), Harvey Mandel (Fender Stratocaster), Larry Taylor, and Fito de la Parra, doing “A Change Is Gonna Come,” with Larry often front and center. This incomplete version is the only version available online. There’s a story about how the guy who bums the cigarette got on stage, but I don’t know if it’s true and won’t recount it.

“Now in order to have a good boogie, you gotta have a bottom. And on that bottom, babies, we got Mister Larry Taylor, alias ‘The Mole’”: thus spake Bob “The Bear” Hite, on the 1968 Canned Heat recording “Fried Hockey Boogie.” Larry’s death is a major loss to music.

Related reading
All OCA Canned Heat posts (Pinboard)

[Corrections to the Billboard obituary: Larry and Fito were on board very early on, but neither was a founding member of Canned Heat.]

comments: 4

Anonymous said...

And another loss in the music world. Not to sound like my parents, but they just don't make music like they used to!

In a way, I'm glad this year's Woodstock was cancelled. You can't recreate a once in a lifetime show especially of artists who actually knew how to play instruments.


Michael Leddy said...

No, you can’t go home again. Canned Heat still puts out solid music, but I wish I could’ve seen the band in the Hite and Wilson days.

Anonymous said...

Definitely can't go home again! But I totally agree that there are many bands that I wish I had seen way back when especially when the cost to see them was so low and many were happy to play.

I still have tickets from Chicago (1970's) $5.00, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with The Earl Scruggs Revue (1972) at $3.50 and The Who in 1980 for $10.00.

I think Steve Martin opened up for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1972 and I thought he was horrible! Little did we know.


Michael Leddy said...

Steve Martin played Fordham’s Rose Hill campus sometime early in his career. Not a big arena — just the school’s Ramskellar (on-campus basement-level “pub”). I wonder what the price of admission was there.