Larry Taylor

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Larry Taylor
Larry Taylor with bass 1971.jpg
Taylor performing with John Mayall and Sugarcane Harris, 1971, Hamburg
Background information
Birth nameSamuel Lawrence Taylor
Also known asThe Mole
Born(1942-06-26)26 June 1942
New York City, U.S.
Died19 August 2019(2019-08-19) (aged 77)
Lake Balboa, California, U.S.
Genres Rock and roll, blues rock, blues, avant-garde
Occupation(s) Bass guitarist, double bassist, guitarist
Instruments Bass guitar, double bass, electric guitar
Years active1965–2019
Associated acts Canned Heat, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, The Monkees, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom Waits, Harvey Mandel

Samuel Lawrence Taylor (June 26, 1942 – August 19, 2019) was an American bass guitarist, best known for his work as a member of Canned Heat from 1967. Before joining Canned Heat he had been a session bassist for The Monkees and Jerry Lee Lewis. [1] He was the younger brother of Mel Taylor, long-time drummer of The Ventures.


Life and career

Taylor was born in New York, New York. His mother was Jewish and his father was a "WASP" from Tennessee. [2] Taylor played bass guitar in The Gamblers, one of the first rock groups to play instrumental surf music. Its personnel also included Elliot Ingber, a future member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, Fraternity of Man and Captain Beefheart's The Magic Band; Bruce Johnston, half of the Bruce and Terry duo with Terry Melcher from 1962–66 and longtime "sixth" member of The Beach Boys, for a time brother Mel Taylor, and guitarist-songwriter-bandleader Derry Weaver, who would record and perform in several capacities during the early 1960s. The Gamblers had a local hit in the Los Angeles area with "Moon Dawg" and Taylor played on the recording.

Taylor played with Canned Heat from 1967 to 1970, and appeared with them at various festivals including the Monterey International Pop Festival and Woodstock . [3]

His band nickname was "The Mole." In addition to playing bass, he also played lead guitar on occasion. An example can be heard on the track "Down in the Gutter, But Free," on the album Hallelujah . In 1969, due to a dispute with Taylor, Henry Vestine left the band. Guitarist Harvey Mandel filled the void as the band's lead guitarist. In 1970, when John Mayall moved to Los Angeles, Taylor and Mandel quit Canned Heat to join him in the Bluesbreakers. After the Bluesbreakers tours, Taylor played briefly with the Sugarcane Harris Band (later called Pure Food and Drug Act).

In 1974, Taylor became part of The Hollywood Fats Band led by Mike "Hollywood Fats" Mann. The pair joined Canned Heat for a King Biscuit Flower Hour concert in 1979. Taylor recorded Reheated in 1988, again with Canned Heat. He toured and recorded with his former band a few more times until 1999. In 2007, Taylor and Harvey Mandel reunited with Fito de la Parra and the rest of the current Canned Heat line-up to perform certain shows. Taylor, Mandel and de la Parra were all in the line-up that played Woodstock. The three members of Canned Heat's Woodstock line-up toured extensively from 2009 to 2013.

Taylor became a leading exponent and practitioner of the acoustic upright bass in the contemporary blues scene. He was quite prominently seen with his upright bass in the live blues film, Lightning in a Bottle. He was also featured in a concert DVD released in winter 2013, from the album Time Brings About A Change by Floyd Dixon. This concert features three elder piano players – Dixon, Pinetop Perkins and Henry Gray — and was filmed at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix, Arizona on 1 and 2 June 2006.

Taylor played on numerous Tom Waits albums and was the bass player in his touring band. [4]

In 2014, Taylor was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'Best Instrumentalist – Bass' category. [5]

Larry Taylor died on 19 August 2019 at the age of 77 from cancer. [6] [7]


With The Monkees

With Canned Heat

With John Mayall

With Harvey Mandel

With Tom Waits

With others

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  1. Kurutz, Steve. "Biography: Larry Taylor". Allmusic . Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  2. "The Jewish Standard". 14 August 2009. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  3. Evans, Mike; Kingsbury, Paul (2009). Woodstock: Three Days that Rocked the World. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN   9781402766237.
  4. Jacobs, Jay S. (2006). Wild Years: The Music and Myth of Tom Waits. ECW Press. ISBN   9781554902613.
  5. "2014 Blues Music Awards Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  6. "Canned Heat Bassist Larry Taylor Dies at 77". Billboard. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  7. Cashmere, Paul (20 August 2019). "Canned Heat's Larry 'The Mole' Taylor has died aged 77". Retrieved 20 August 2019.