Rolling Stones dressed up - Copenhagen - 1970
(Credit: Bent Rej)

Keith Richards’ and Mick Taylor trade licks on isolated guitar for Rolling Stones’ ‘Live With Me’

‘Live With Me’ is an important song in the history of The Rolling Stones. Not only is it a bonafide classic, but it was the first time that they recorded with Mick Taylor and signalled the start of a new exciting chapter for the group. It’s the sound of a band reinvigorated following the arrival of Taylor which allowed the other members of the group to get back to their best. The person who benefitted most of all from the addition was Keith Richards’ who had found a kindred spirit in Taylor and the isolated guitars of the pair on this song are nothing short of sublime.

The track captures The Glimmer Twins in full flow and works as an example of the great partnership that Jagger and Richards share. The band headed to the studio to record ‘Live With Me’ on 24th May 1969 without Brian Jones who would officially leave the group a couple of weeks later. When Taylor joined the band, his guitar part was dubbed over the basic track — but even he couldn’t top Richards’ showing. Along with ‘Country Honk’, this was one of only two songs on Let it Bleed that their new signing played on. Together with Keith Richards, they created this original two-lead guitar sound that would see The Stones become an even greater tour de force.

Taylor said in 2000: “‘Live with Me,’ very appropriately named because once I joined The Stones, it was like living with a family for the next five or six years. It was an interesting session, actually, because they were putting the finishing touches on Let It Bleed and the first track I played on was ‘Live With Me.’ We did that live, and the second thing I did was I overdubbed my guitar part on ‘Honky Tonk Women.'” It would be the start of what many consider to be the Stones’ most fruitful period of recording.

Keith Richards would step up his game following the arrival of Taylor and he put in a performance on ‘Live With Me’ which would be impossible for anybody to overshadow. His isolated guitar is utterly spectacular and, although he is often not involved in the conversation regarding the greatest guitarists, this performance is an example of Keef proving exactly why he earnt the nickname ‘The Human Riff’. It was a position he could hold with more regularity thanks to Taylor’s perfect control and timing, allowing Richards to run around like a headless chicken.

‘Live With Me’ was never elected to feature as a single from Let It Bleed but it became a Stones classic nevertheless and it’s a regular live favourite that allows Richards to show off his immaculate flair. The record is one of the most important from the entirety of their career as is sowed the seed for the brilliance that was brewing over the next few years which would see them create Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main St. and Goats Head Soup which is probably the finest streak of records from their near-60-year career.

The reason for that, many have suggested, was the introduction of Mick Taylor and, when listening to the isolated guitar of both him and Richards it is easy to see how they could transform the band so efficiently. Take a few minutes out and enjoy Keith Richards’ remarkable isolated guitar on ‘Live With Me’, below and find Mick Taylor’s own take below that.

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