Mountain were one of the first proto metal bands from the USA, their hit single ‘Mississippi Queen’ is featured here, their place in history assured.
Written by: Eric
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Leslie West – guitars, lead and. backing vocals * Felix Pappalardi – bass, rhythm guitar, piano, lead and backing vocals * Corky Laing – drums, percussion * Steve Knight – organ, mellotron, hand bells
TRACK LISTING: 01 Mississippi Queen * 02 Theme From An Imaginary Western * 03 Never In My Life * 04 Silver Paper * 05 For Yasgur’s Farm * 06 To My Friend * 07 The Laird * 08 Sittin’ On A Rainbow * 09 Boys In The Band
America’s answer to Cream, Mountain were formed in 1969 by Long Island big boy Leslie West and the late Felix Pappalardi. West’s first solo album titled ‘Mountain’ was produced by Pappalardi who also sat behind the desk for Cream‘s ‘Disraeli Gears’ among other projects. Becoming a four-piece with the addition of Canadian drummer Corky Laing and keyboardist Steve Knight, Mountain were a driving force from the get-go.
Debuting at the Fillmore West for two nights with headliners the Steve Miller Band and days later appearing at the Woodstock Festival in New York. Straight out of the gate and not a bad run and while too often they are thrown into the Blues rock category, Mountain’s music was much more diverse, often combining their brand of Heavy Blues with Classical and Progressive rock elements.
Along with Blue Oyster Cult‘s ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’, Mountain’s use of cowbell on the massive hit ‘Mississippi Queen’ gave the lowly instrument a bit of fun credibility in rock circles. However, it’s West’s driving riffs and Gravel Truck vocals that propels the song into the hard rock stratosphere, making it a classic for the ages.
Pappalardi takes over on lead vocal duties for the excellent Procol Harum styled ‘Theme From An Imaginary Western’ which also gave the band significant radio time. West kicks in at full-throttle on the pounding ‘Never In My Life’ while ‘Silver Paper’ has a laid back Ten Years After feel which I like a lot.
Kicking it up a notch ‘For Yasgur’s Farm’, an ode to the Dairy Farmer who loaned his land for the Woodstock Festival is one of the set’s strongest cuts although the gorgeous acoustic instrumental ‘To My Friend’ is a standout as well. Both ‘Sittin’ On A Rainbow’ and closer ‘Boys In The Band’ are solid blues rockers and the latter with Steve Night’s grinding organ drawing comparisons to Deep Purple.
This is an album that should be in every serious hard rock collection and the CBS/Legacy reissue contains a smoking live version of ‘For Yasgur’s Farm’ as a bonus track and making for an attractive investment.