Barry Levenson Remembers Larry "The Mole" Taylor
Larry Taylor, the founding bassist of 1960s L.A. boogie rock band Canned Heat passed away on August 19. Best known for his time with Canned Heat, as also was a well known and respected session player. He backed such diverse groups as The Monkees, John Mayall, Tom Waits, Albert King, Leo Kottke, The Blasters, and Sunnyland Slim.
According to Billboard Magazine, "He was best known for his work with Canned Heat, whose 1967 self-titled debut, featuring covers of blues classics by Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Robert Johnson, was released just after the band's appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival, where they performed alongside The Who, Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Otis Redding and Jefferson Airplane. He was part of the classic Heat line-up that also included guitarists Alan Wilson and Henry Vestine, singer Bob Hite and drummer "Fito" De la Parra, the latter the only remaining living member of that original group."
Barry Levenson, a Safe-T-Stand Co-Founder remembers "The Mole":
"Larry, as those that knew him can attest to, could be a very intimidating figure. He could be the nicest person in the world. He could also rip you a new ass-hole. The first time I met him at a Canned Heat rehearsal, he came up to me, put his face a few inches from mine and said, "Play some Jimmy Reed." I played some low-end Boogie stuff, inwardly shaking LOL and he stopped me and said, "We're going to be okay." He told me that he could not stand guitar players that would mute the strings when they were playing Jimmy Reed on the last two strings. Since Jimmy Reed was one of my favorite musicians and I studied him pretty hard I knew his style luckily LOL. Larry also asked me some questions about Chuck Berry songs and what key they were in. I answered the questions correctly and everything was great from then on. He listened to one of my CDs and came in my room and said in this big voice of his," You have your shit together, ". This was like getting a confirmation from God LOL. Larry was the best blues bass player I ever heard and of course he could play almost anything. They called him "The Mole" because he dug so deep into the groove.. he was absolutely one of the icons of roots music! The world will never see another like him."