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Mountain

The breakup of Cream in late 1968 had consequences that rippled across the rock music world -- in its wake were formed directly such bands as Blind Faith (whose tragedy was they never had a chance to actually become a band) and Ginger Baker's Air Force, as well as the rich solo careers of members Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce. And it yielded -- by way of Cream associate and producer Felix Pappalardi -- something of a successor band in 1969, in the form of Mountain.

The band's history all started with a Long Island-based psychedelic/garage band called the Vagrants, who'd acquired a serious local following and always seemed poised to break out, without ever actually doing so. Their lead guitarist, Leslie West, was a physically outsized figure as well as a musician extraordinaire whose playing had been completely transformed by his experience of hearing Clapton's playing in Cream. The Vagrants and West first crossed paths with Pappalardi in 1968, when he saw their potential and got them signed to Atlantic Records, where he was working as a producer. He had already made a name for himself producing Cream's Disraeli Gears album, and had played numerous background instruments on their follow-up, Wheels of Fire (and on the studio tracks that would form their Goodbye album). He did produce some of the best work that the Vagrants ever released, but none of it sold; and when West left the band in late 1968 to do a solo album, titled Mountain, Pappalardi produced it for him, as well as played keyboards and bass on the record. The results were the most impressive of West's career up to that time, a solid, blues-based hard rock workout, showing off just how profoundly he incorporated Clapton's playing into his own style -- Mountain sounded a great deal like the now-disbanded Cream, and was satisfying enough for the two to form a partnership, also called Mountain. Their first lineup was built around the one used on the album, with N.D. Smart on drums, and Steve Knight added on keyboards, while Pappalardi concentrated on playing the bass. Following a debut performance at the Fillmore West in July 1969, the group played its fourth live performance ever at Woodstock, in front of an audience of several hundred thousand, on a bill with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and -- also getting their first national exposure at the same festival -- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The event was an auspicious one, even though it was followed by a personnel shift, as Smart was replaced by Corky Laing, West's oldest friend.

The group was signed to the Windfall label and released their debut LP, Mountain Climbing!, in the spring of 1970, accompanied by their debut single, "Mississippi Queen," which reached number 21 in June of 1970. That chart placement doesn't begin to delineate the impact of that single, a hard rock boogie that was a killer showcase for West's guitar and an unlikely piece of Southern-fried rock & roll, coming from the pens of the Queens- and Brooklyn-born West and Pappalardi, and the Canadian-born Laing -- it was as improbable as the California-born John Fogerty authoring "Born on the Bayou" or "Green River," and almost as enduring in popular culture. The single may not have reached the Top 20, but the album it was on peaked at number 17, driven by listeners drawn to the single but wanting more from the band behind it, and the high-energy mix of hard rock and blues they generated. And the debut album offered some surprises, such as the quartet's successful digression into progressive rock with "Theme from an Imaginary Western" (co-authored by Cream's Jack Bruce, which only further emphasized the indirect connections and musical debt owed the other band). The latter got lots of play on FM radio, as did "Never in My Life."

Equally important to the band's fortunes, they were able to deliver on-stage what they promised on their records -- indeed, their records were a surprisingly accurate representation of their actual sound, except that Mountain was even louder live than they were in the studio. The group scored another hit at the Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1970, alongside the Allman Brothers, Cactus. and others. Mountain's second album, Nantucket Sleighride, was equally successful commercially and unveiled the title track, which would take on epic proportions in concert. Flowers of Evil followed in November of 1971, just ten months after its predecessor, and it began to clearly show the strain of the pace the band had been keeping up since July of 1969 -- half of it consisted of lackluster studio originals, while the other half was a live medley and a concert version of "Mississippi Queen." Lackluster sales and reviews were inevitable, and the impression of a band running on empty was reinforced by their next release, Mountain Live (The Road Goes Ever On) (1972), which had only four cuts on it, all of them characterized by extended solos. Hardcore fans appreciated the record as an extension of their recordings, but many listeners and most critics found it lacking musical cohesion.

The group broke up soon after the release of that album, due in part to Pappalardi's concerns about his hearing, which been damaged by the high volume the band generated in concert. He returned to production, while West and Laing -- staying close to their hard rock roots, as well as the orbit whence Pappalardi had come -- teamed up with ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce as West, Bruce & Laing, a hard rock power trio that cut a brief but memorable swathe of their own across the musical landscape in the early/mid-'70s. Meanwhile, a Best of Mountain LP released in the wake of the breakup helped to sustain interest in the group. And later in 1973, Mountain was back together, West and Pappalardi reactivating the band with Bob Mann on keyboards and guitar and Allan Schwartzberg on drums for a tour of Japan. This resulted in the live double LP Twin Peaks (1974), a much better representation of the group's concert sound, including a 32-minute version of "Nantucket Sleighride." During 1974, in the wake of the second live album, West, Laing, and Pappalardi revived Mountain again to record a studio LP, Avalanche. In subsequent years, West and Laing revived the group for live shows, sometimes joined by Pappalardi; West also performed with his own Leslie West Band. Sadly, Pappalardi was shot and killed by his wife in 1983. Two years later, West and Laing regrouped with Mark Clarke on bass and recorded an album before once again calling it quits. Laing served as PolyGram's A&R vice president in Canada between 1989 and 1995. In 1996, he reunited with West and Clarke for a new Mountain album, Man's World. West and Laing teamed up again in 2002 for another album as Mountain, Mystic Fire. ~ Bruce Eder & Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Official Live Mountain Bootleg Series Volume 9 : Live In Karlshamn, Sweden 1994

Disc 1

1. Intro / Never In My Life (Live)

2. Whisky Train (Live)

3. Theme For Imaginary / Hall Of Mountain King (Live)

4. Politician (Live)

5. Third Degree / Red House (Live)

6. Crossroader / The Doctor (Live)

Disc 2

1. Voodoo Chile / Hey Joe (Live)

2. Blood Of The Sun (Live)

3. Jam / Du Garnia Du Fria / Star Spangled Banner (Live)

4. Nantucket Sleighride

5. Mississippi Queen

6. Crossroads (Live)

x

Track List: Official Bootleg Series, Vol. 12: Olympic Auditorium 1970

1. Long Red (Live)

2. Theme For An Imaginary Western (Live)

3. Dreams Of Milk And Honey (Live)

4. Stormy Monday (Live)

5. Mississippi Queen (Live)

6. For Yasgur's Farm (Live)

7. Never In My Life (Live)

8. Dirty Shoes (Live)

x

Track List: Live At The Fillmore East 1970

1. Never In My Life

2. The Animal Trainer And The Toad

3. Theme From An Imaginary Western

4. Dirty Shoes (Live)

5. Dreams Of Milk And Honey (Live)

6. Corky's Drum Solo (Pt's 1 & 2) (Live)

7. Silver Paper

8. Mississippi Queen

9. For Yasgauri's Farm

10. Nantucket Sleighride

11. Travellin' In The Dark (Live)

x

Track List: Offcial Live Mountain Bootleg Series Volume 1

1. Improvisation

2. Never In My Life

3. Crossroader (Live)

4. nantucket Sleighride

5. Guitar Solo

9. Mississippi Queen (Live)

x

Track List: Mystic Fire

1. Immortal

2. Mystic Fire

3. Fever

4. The Sea

5. Mutant X

6. Better Off With The Blues

7. Mountain Express (Oh Boy)

8. Marble Peach / Rotten Peach

9. Johnny Comes Marching Home

10. Nantucket Sleighride (Redux)

x

Track List: Over The Top

Disc 1

1. Blood Of The Sun

2. Long Red

3. Blind Man

4. Dreams Of Milk And Honey

5. Southbound Train

6. Because You Are My Friend

7. Mississippi Queen

8. Theme For An Imaginary Western

9. Never In My Life

10. Silver Paper

11. For Yasgur's Farm

12. To My Friend

13. Sittin' On A Rainbow

14. Stormy Monday (Live)

15. Waiting To Take You Away (Live Single Version)

16. Guitar Solo (Live)

Disc 2

1. Don't Look Around

2. Taunta (Sammy's Tune)

3. Nantucket Sleighride (To Owen Coffin)

4. You Can't Get Away!

5. The Animal Trainer And The Toad

6. My Lady

7. Travelin' In The Dark (To E.M.P.)

8. The Great Train Robbery

9. Flowers Of Evil

10. One Last Cold Kiss

11. Crossroader

12. Roll Over Beethoven (Live)

13. You Better Believe It

14. Back Where I Belong

15. Bardot Damage

16. Shimmy On The Footlights

17. Talking To The Angels

18. Solution

x

Track List: On Top

1. Mississippi Queen

2. For Yasgur's Farm

3. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

4. Don't Look Around

5. Theme From An Imaginary Western

6. Never In My Life

7. Boys In The Band

8. You Better Believe It

10. Roll Over Beethoven

x

Track List: Best Of Mountain

x

Track List: Nantucket Sleighride

1. Don't Look Around

2. Taunta (Sammy's Tune)

3. Nantucket Sleighride

4. You Can't Get Away!

5. Tired Angels (To J.M.H.)

6. The Animal Trainer And The Toad

7. My Lady

8. Travellin' In The Dark (To E.M.P.)

9. The Great Train Robbery

x

Track List: Climbing!

1. Mississippi Queen

2. Theme For An Imaginary Western

3. Never In My Life

4. Silver Paper

5. For Yasgur's Farm

6. To My Friend

7. The Laird

8. Sittin On A Rainbow

9. Boys In The Band

x

Track List: Live At The Capitol Theater 1973

1. Introduction (Live)

2. You'd Better Believe It / Crossroad (Live)

3. Theme For An Imaginary Western (Live)

4. Never In My Life (Live)

5. Get Out Of My Life Woman / Band Intros (Live)

6. Nantucket Sleighride (Live)

x

Track List: Live At The Pineknob Theater 1985

1. Why Don't Cha (Live)

2. Never In My Life (Live)

3. Hard Times (Live)

4. Theme For An Imaginary Western (Live)

5. Spark (Live)

6. Nantucket Sleighride

7. Leslie West Guitar Solo

9. Mississippi Queen

x

Track List: Official Live Mountain Bootleg Series Volume 2

5. Crossroader (Live)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
b.g.kelly
Great memories are brought back each time I hear Mountain.
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Last time i told my baby to light my fire we set the mattress on fire,had to drag it out the window before it burnt the house down lol those were good times.
Report as inappropriate
Saw Mountain email 3 times at Eastown theater in Detroit in 1969-70 they never disappointed and they loved playing in Detroit.
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❤❤❤❤❤
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mysteriousst r a n g e r s 8 6
❤❤❤❤❤
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@salil00
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My first live concert in Summer, 1970, was Jethro Tull, with Mountain as the opening band. Had never heard them before, and was blown away. Leslie West still brings it today as a blues guitarist virtuoso.
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❤❤❤❤❤
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this was one of the soundtracks to the Dukes of Hazzard movie
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They are pretty F**cking badass!!!
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I am a mountain man forever!
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Leslie was just in NJ at Vintage Vinyl this past November. He played a little on the stage, and told some stories. Climbing is one of the most perfect hard rock albums. Yes, rock on Leslie!
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Rock on my brothers
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Leslie west & mountain were one of the great rock bands of their time
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Nantucket Sleigh ride!!
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Geez, I know Mississippi Queen but...Mounta i n ? ? ? Embarrassed to say I never heard the name! I like 'em.
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Geez, I know the song but...Mounta i n ? ? ? Embarrassed to say I never heard the name! I like 'em.
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laschuk3000
What de mean never became a band? Where did the live videos on Google come from? My a**?
Report as inappropriate
Loved West Bruce and Laing great music Leslie West such a great guitarest
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Loved Mississippi queen from the moment I heard the first riff
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Leslie West most underrated guitar player from the 60 s and 70 s
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Mountain came to Tampa in a little night club called the- Other Place around 1983. I was 23. loved the show!!!!!
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trinn17
G/DAMN WHAT A GREAT TRACK !!
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The Cream of America !!
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Listen cloely to the keyboard backing in Mountain- added such depth to that band-Felix was the producer for Cream/Youngb l o o d s / e t c One of best bass players was Felix- Leslie was a super guitarist and still is
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Yeap, 18 minutes long!!
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finally, some Mountain on my Mountain station! thanks
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Mississippi Queen....nuf f said!
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������������
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Impressive-M o u n t a i n was a cousin to Cream. They definitely filled a void and all the Cream fans jumped on the Mountain sound. They were incredible. I exchanged a few letter with keyboardist Steve Knight & Felix. in concert they could deliver the goods. One of my all time favorites-Fe l i x knew how to put a band together with real musicians.RI P FELIX & STEVE.
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OMG
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Go Leslie "Go". Thank you Jesus
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If anybody had any doubts about Leslie's ability to play this song will shut their mouths!
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fulminatus7
Long Island boy me. OBI North, East, South, & West. OMG !!
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Nostalgic memories.. Mississippi queen! If ya know what I mean!
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Yea love it
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Nantucket Sleighride live--is there a better late night driving song?
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Live at Capitol Theatre
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Shredding live Nantucket Sleighride phew give it a go.
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mississippi queen....off with the poser's heads!!!
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Blues-Rock excellence!! !
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I havent heard this version sweet marie nantucket sleigh ride in 40years ~ truley blown away












































































i
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Most hard rockin' love song ever? Never in my Life!
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Mississippi Queen is an awesome song. Great Band !!!
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♪♪♪♪♪ ♥ ♪♪♪♪ OH, YEAHHHHHHHHH H : )
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/
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Ozzy claims Mountain got him hooked on cocaine
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tslavinl21
Leslie West lived inside his guitar. His sound lives on, all these years later.
Report as inappropriate
johnnyohania n
too bad the sound quality is so poor on this bootleg album, sounds like a pretty good jam.
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one of the best solos was was when Mr. West did that thing on the live side of FLOWERS OF EVIL. It has one mean hook to it>
Show more

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