Mick Taylor, Diss

He's the forgotten man of the greatest-ever rock group and has played some of the biggest venues in the world.

He's the forgotten man of the greatest-ever rock group and has played some of the biggest venues in the world.

For his first live performance with the Rolling Stones in 1969, Mick Taylor faced screaming fans at Hyde Park.

But on Saturday night he was with old friends and musicians, playing before about 400 people at the considerably smaller venue of the Corn Hall, in Diss.

Also appearing was the gig's organiser Denny Newman, landlord of the Railway Tavern at Mellis, Zoot Money and Max Middleton.

The audience, who had each paid £12.50 for the Christmas Jam, had to wait two hours for Taylor's set, with the notoriously reclusive guitarist arriving just minutes before he was due to perform at 10pm.

But they had not forgotten him and thought it was well worth it as he played some of his blues numbers.

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Speaking before he went on stage, Taylor, who lives about five miles from Diss, said music was for all generations, and said he thought there was room in the industry for the likes of Pop Idols Gareth Gates and Will Young.

“I think we all have our individual styles. It was a very good and interesting idea of Denny's to put this on,” he said. “I think it could be repeated and other bands could come here.”

Taylor replaced the Stones' lead guitarist Brian Jones in June 1969, when he was just 21, having already made his name with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Jones left to form his own band but was found dead in his swimming pool a few weeks later.

Taylor contributed to Stones classics including Angie, Brown Sugar and Can't You Hear Me Knocking, in what many regard as the group's golden era.

The 52-year-old is also credited on the band's latest album, Forty Licks, a 40-track compilation spanning their entire career. It says he brought “a new lyricism and grace” to what was already a great rock guitar group.

Taylor left the Stones in December 1974 to pursue his own musical projects, and has worked with artists including Bob Dylan, composed soundtracks for films and continues to make guest appearances and tour with his own band.

“The guys I was inspired by, a lot of them are dead, people like Muddy Waters, Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley. They're all legendary artists,” he said. “I'm still recording and making another CD soon. I don't know what it's going to be called yet, but it will be an album of some covers and originals.”

Saturday's gig came about by chance after a meeting with Denny, who he had worked with eight years ago. Taylor heard he had bought a pub in the next village and stopped by for a drink, and after an informal jam session the idea of a gig was born.

“It's gone fantastically,” said Denny, a guitarist with Manfred Man. “Mick is Mick and Zoot Money was incredible. The response from the audience has been great.”

Another jam has been provisionally booked for March 15 at the Corn Hall.

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