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Leslie West

Leslie West first gained recognition as the lead guitarist for the Vagrants, a locally popular 1960s Long Island group. One of that group's singles was produced by Felix Pappalardi, a bass player who also produced Cream. After the Vagrants and Cream split up, Pappalardi played bass on and produced West's debut solo album, Mountain (July 1969). Following its release, the two teamed up with drummer Norman Smart (soon replaced by Corky Laing) and keyboard player Steve Knight to form the band Mountain, which cut the albums Climbing! (February 1970; a gold-selling LP featuring the Top 40 single "Mississippi Queen"), Nantucket Sleighride (January 1971; which also went gold), and Flowers of Evil (November 1971). In 1972, Pappalardi left Mountain to return to being a producer. (Posthumous record releases included Mountain Live (The Road Goes on Forever) [April 1972] and The Best of Mountain [February 1973].) West and Laing joined with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce to form West, Bruce & Laing. The trio recorded two studio albums, Why Dontcha (October 1972) and Whatever Turns You On (July 1973). (A live album, Live 'N' Kickin', was released in April 1974.) Bruce quit in the summer of 1973, and West and Laing briefly formed Leslie West's Wild West Show. Then West, Pappalardi, Alan Schwartherg (drums), and Bob Mann (keyboards) re-formed Mountain, recording a double live album, Twin Peaks (February 1974), in Osaka, Japan, in August 1973. This was followed by a Mountain studio album, Avalanche (July 1974), made by West, Pappalardi, Laing, and Knight. Then Mountain split again, and West formed the Leslie West Band, releasing The Great Fatsby (April 1975) (which featured Mick Jagger) and The Leslie West Band (1976) (which featured Mick Jones, later of Foreigner). Bedeviled by substance abuse problems, West retired from music for a time, then cleared up and again re-formed Mountain with Laing and bassist Mark Clarke (Pappalardi had died in 1983) for Go for Your Life (March 1985). The group broke up again, and West made Theme (1988), again teaming with Jack Bruce. West then participated in the Guitar Speaks (1988) and Night of the Guitar (1989) recordings of legendary rock guitarists for IRS Records' Illegal subsidiary. His next solo album was Alligator (August 1989), followed by Dodgin' the Dirt (1994). In 1994, West and Laing teamed with ex-Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Noel Redding in another edition of Mountain, recording two tracks for the compilation Over the Top (1995). The solo As Phat as It Gets followed in 1999. After an album for Voiceprint, Guitarded, in 2004, West released two blues-inflected albums for Blues Bureau International, 2005's Got Blooze and 2006's Blue Me. West lost a leg due to complications from type 2 diabetes in June of 2011, but it didn't slow him down much. He released Unusual Suspects, which featured guest spots from guitarists Billy Gibbons, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Joe Bonamassa, and Steve Lukather three months later in September. ~ William Ruhlmann
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Still Climbing

1. Dyin' Since The Day I Was Born

2. Busted, Disgusted Or Dead

3. Fade Into You

4. Not Over You At All

5. Tales Of Woe

6. Feeling Good

7. Hatfield Or Mccoy

8. When A Man Loves A Woman

9. Long Red

10. Don't Ever Let Me Go

11. Rev Jones Time (Over The Rainbow)

x

Track List: Unusual Suspects

1. One More Drink For The Road

2. Mud Flap Momma

3. To The Moon

4. Standing On Higher Ground

5. Third Degree

6. Legend

7. Nothing's Changed

8. I Feel Fine

9. Love You Forever

10. My Gravity

11. The Party's Over

12. I Don't Know (The Beetlejuice Song)

x

Track List: Blue Me

1. Blues Before Sunrise

2. I Woke Up This Morning

3. Four Day Creep

4. Hit The Road Jack

5. Standin' Around Crying

6. One Thing On My Mind

7. Green River

8. Sinner's Prayer

9. Woman

10. Tore Down

11. Summertime

x

Track List: Got Blooze

1. Baby Please Don't Go

2. Third Degree

3. Louisiana Blues

4. I Can't Quit You

5. Riot In Cell Block #9

6. House Of The Rising Sun

7. (Look Over) Yonder's Wall

8. The Sky Is Crying

9. Politician

10. The Thrill Is Gone

11. Walk In My Shadow

12. Heartbreak Hotel

x

Track List: Guitarded

1. Allergic

2. Cross Cut Saw Blues

3. Stormy Monday

4. Honky Tonk Woman

5. Hang Me Out To Dry

6. If Heartaches Were Nickels

7. The Cell

8. Dragon Lady

9. Goin' Down (Live)

10. Third Degree

11. Born To Be Wild

12. Old Brown Shoe

13. Theme From An Imaginary Western

x

Track List: Alligator

1. Sea Of Fire

2. Waiting For The F Change

3. Whiskey

4. Alligator

5. I Put A Spell On You

6. All Of Me

7. The Stealer

8. Hall Of The Mountain King / Theme From Exodus

9. Dream Lover

x

Track List: Theme

1. Talk Dirty

2. Motherlode

3. Theme For An Imaginary Western

4. I'm Cryin'

5. Red House (live)

6. Love Is Forever

7. I Ate It

8. Spoonful

9. Love Me Tender

x

Track List: Mountain

1. Blood Of The Sun

2. Long Red

3. Better Watch Out

4. Blind Man

5. Baby, I'm Down

6. Dreams Of Milk & Honey

7. Storyteller Man

8. This Wheel's On Fire

9. Look To The Wind

10. Southbound Train

11. Because You Are My Friend

x

Track List: Soundcheck

1. Left By The Roadside To Die

2. Give Me One Reason

3. Here For The Party

4. You Are My Sunshine

5. Empty Promises / Nothin' Sacred

6. A Stern Warning

7. People Get Ready

8. Going Down

9. Stand By Me

10. Eleanor Rigby

11. Spoonful

Comments

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I hate the 'best' arguments I have my list and Leslie is on the short version. i've missed him.
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RIP JACK!
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Saw him at the Electric Ballroom in Atlanta sat 10ft from him he blew my mind
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I first saw Leslie as a lead on for Black Sabbath. I think it was in 1968 or 69 in Findlay Ohio. Better than Sabbath!!!!!
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Leslie, remembering u & mountain!!!! ! 71, live at vets. When I was in the 9th grade. lol
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leslie west was very underated,he could play with the best,wait he was one of many guitar Gods,enough said.
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milosdad
Any San Antonians attend the Edgar Winter, Climax Blues Band (when they were blues), Leslie West and Mountain show in 1975 at the Municipal Auditorium?
First time I ever saw him and the cat was phenomenal. The hype was always about his weight but he could really play.
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marley3148
Going to see him Friday nite, can't wait.
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Hey ya all keep coming arom
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Not enough credit for Leslie. Great songmaster coming up in a time of some truly gifted rock artists
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Great stuff swish said it
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wooh
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milosdad
Edgar Winter, Mountain and Climax Blues Band (they were still blues at the time) What a show. It was the first time I got to see him and I was pretty blown away by how great a guitarist he was. For too long he was a novelty, the fat man who cold play. Pretty underrated and not known by enough people.
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melanieraeta y l o r
Crossroader.
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Vincent Y Ramirez 10, Its nice being single, no abuse, Unemployment appeal. Nurse assisstant, at continuation school. Restraining order, the ex f**ks everyone, everyones door knob,
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Wow never herd of him wow this is good
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ischaffee
Leslie you and Felix.. the absolute greatest.. I remember back In 69 seeing them at Drew University and then after that the Fillmore..I felt like I was floating when I left those concerts.. couldn't listen to anything on the radio.. All I wanted to here was Mountain... I hope to see them again.. RIP Felix !!!!
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This mfkn rocks fffffaaaawww w k k k k k yyyyeeeeaaaa :D
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I saw Mountain in about 1971 or 1972 at the Spectrum in Phila. . Opening act was Black Sabbath ( think that was their Phila debut ) then ( sorry for the brain fog but I cant recall which was the headline act ) Mountain n Humble Pie . What a grrreat bill !!! I think it was only 7 bucks or so for a ticket n I'm pretty sure that same line-up returned to the Spectrum at a later date . Ah , the70s , maybe the best era for great music - just my opinion .
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hddcrash
Oh my oh my. I don't usually read these blogs but for some reason,,,,we l l , jrojr69 you got to start paying attention. I know your post was a year ago and I may be too late. Let me just say I seen em all, Beck included and he can't hold a guitar pick next to Leslie West. I saw him in 1971 at UNH. He blew the place up. The last time I saw him was about 10 years ago in Boston and he blew the place up. If there is any question who carries the day on his guitar pick up Unusual Suspects.
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Love Leslie. Sounding like Paul Rodgers on this disk.
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kvons1
How about some Nantucket Sleighride-- - - - P A N D O R A ? ?
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This s**t kicks a**!
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north south east west is the best live show in the world diging him a long time now 69 nyc
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Saw them three times in '69 at my college in connecticut. . . t h e m yankee boys could play...zorba
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Every time this guy's stuff comes around on Pandora he blows me away! Back in 1971 in Wildwood NJ Mountain kicked a**.
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kvons1
Leslie West & Felix Pappalardi (&) Duke and the Drivers----F R O L I C S BALLROOM, Salisbury Beach, Salisbury, Mass July 4th, 1977-----MEM O R I E S , MEMORIES!
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I've seen Leslie many, many times through his up's and downs and various addictions and weight issues!! The one thing that has never changed or been compromised is that every note he plays comes directly from the depth of his soul!!!!!! Hendrix would be about his only peer!
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Keep jamming, Leslie!
One of the all timers, for sure. But who's the best?
Beck, and its not even close!
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Mississippi Queen is time capsule worthy as one of the great toneful and tasty guitar solos of all time!
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Seiko desu!!!!
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not to shabby
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oh yeah.... we tried smokin it it..... once. but I never van haled it.
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fklaurel
One of the best!
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not bad
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the man still teares it up,
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Arf!
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doowopj69
van halan
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graybeard19
One of my top three guitarists, West, clapton, page.....don t get no better, I guess I forgot to add Jerry Garcia and Bob wier too, guess that makes FIVE...rock on leslie, rock on!
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jimi hendrix is the ONE
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frank marino YEA
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ronnie montrose the man
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robin trower one of the greats
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leslie west one of greats
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I will agree Marino is one on the best i just saw him last week in maryland, front row,,, i was in shock totally on how good he really is
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Right on Stormy
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@tommy jackson
let's not be rude, if you're gonna whip out the 'greatest guitar player' card...how about peter green (even clapton says he's one of the best, if not the best, white bluesman), or roy buchanan, or stevie ray (yea, that's right purists, i said stevie), or ronnie earl, mike bloomfield, lightnin' hopkins, and on and on. there are many greats, and way more than those you mentioned, that belong in a conversation about greatest blues guitarists.
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Absolute no-brainer.. . l i s t e n i n g to anything by him...You know who it is!
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he is very good---but the greatest blues guitarist ever



lets see---ever hear of hendrix, clapton, marino,trowe r , allman,winte r , gibbons
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No one can touch his tone or hand vibrato...my earliest influence
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