Get this crazy baby off my head!




Mountain - Mystic Fire aka High - 2002 - Lightyear

Although singer/guitarist Leslie West and drummer Corky Laing, two of the four musicians who were known as Mountain on such hit recordings as 1970's Mountain Climbing!, have released several albums under the band's name since its nominal demise in the 1970s, their legal right to do so is somewhat belied by their inability to fully re-create the group's style. The absence of keyboard player Steve Knight isn't that much of a problem (even though it reduces the sound to that of a power trio with the addition of bass guitar played by different session men or West overdubbing), but Felix Pappalardi, who not only played bass, but also brought his arranging and producing skills to Mountain, is a key omission that cannot be replaced; he was shot to death by his wife, occasional Mountain lyricist Gail Collins, in 1983. West was always the lead vocalist and lead guitar player, so the most identifiable elements of the sound are in place. But without Pappalardi, Mountain is really a West solo project released under a more marketable name. That said, Laing makes his presence felt on Mountain's 2002 reunion effort, Mystic Fire. He is the co-author of several songs, gets drum solos on "Marble Peach/Rotten Peach" and "Johnny Comes Marching Home," and is responsible for the strings on a remake of "Nantucket Sleighride." Still, West dominates the record, his always gruff voice having deteriorated, but his guitar playing still recalling late-'60s/early-'70s peers Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page. The songs are often rudimentary compositions that serve as excuses for the guitar excursions; they lack the poetic lyrics formerly contributed by Collins and Pete Brown. So, old fans can welcome back a group that sounds like Mountain, while recognizing that it is not what it once was. © William Ruhlmann © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved

Mountain was a great '70's hard rock band. The talented keyboard player, Steve Knight, and the incomparable rhythm section of the late Felix Pappalardi, (arguably an underrated vocalist), on bass and Corky Laing on drums produced some of the best blues-based hard rock music of the seventies. Several of their songs are regarded as hard rock classics, including "Mississippi Queen," "Nantucket Sleighride," "Never in My Life," and the Jack Bruce penned "Theme for an Imaginary Western." Even today, these tracks receive plenty of airplay. After the band's 1974 "Avalanche" album, the band never really produced material to match the quality of "Climbing!", or "Nantucket Sleighride". Mountain have occasionally re-formed over the years, but most of their later albums, although containing great musicianship, do not contain enough strong material. "Mystic Fire" from 2002 is one of the band's better efforts. It hasn't got the dynamic power of the earlier stuff, and the lyrics are only average, but the guitar work from Leslie West, and Todd Wolfe is great, and the album is a good rocker. N.B: This album had a European release under the title of "High". Buy their classic 1970 album "Climbing!" ,and hear Mountain at their best. Check out Mountain's "Extended Versions" album @ MTN/EV "The Best Of Mountain" can be found @ MTN/BOMTN

1.Immortal - Neil Fallon/Leslie West
2.Mystic Fire - Corky Laing/Leslie West
3.Fever - Eddie Cooley/John Davenport
4.The Sea - Citron, George/Leslie West
5.Mutant X - Corky Laing/Leslie West
6.Better Off With the Blues - Fritts, Donny/Delbert McClinton/Gary Nicholson
7.Mountain Express (Oh Boy) - Leslie West
8.Marble Peach/Rotten Peach - Corky Laing/Leslie West
9.Johnny Comes Marching Home - Trad.
10.Nantucket Sleighride Redux - Gail Collins/Felix Pappalardi


Leslie West - Guitar, Vocals
Richie Scarlett - Bass on "Nantucket Sleighride Redux"
Chuck Hearne - Bass
Todd Wolfe - Slide Guitar on "Fever"
Corky Laing - Drums, Vocals


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 © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:wifyxqe5ldte~T1

BIO (Wikipedia)

Mountain is an American rock band, popular in the early 1970s. The band broke up in 1972, reformed shortly thereafter, broke up soon after that, and now has begun touring again in recent years. Mountain remains popular in some circles despite having fallen out of the mainstream during the seventies. Mountain was influential during the development of hard rock, and their hit song "Mississippi Queen" became a radio hit and a hard rock classic. VH1 ranked Mountain as number 98 on its 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. The band formed when guitarist Leslie West, having left the Long Island R&B band the Vagrants, recorded a solo album called Mountain with bassist and former Cream producer Felix Pappalardi producing. The album, Mountain, also featured former Remains drummer N.D. Smart and keyboard player Steve Knight. West's raw vocals and melodic, bluesy guitar style, and Pappalardi's heavy and elegant bass lines were the elements of Mountain's distinctive sound. The band was inspired by the power trio Cream, of which Pappalardi was an "unofficial" member: he featured heavily on Cream's third album, Wheels of Fire, contributing organ, viola, trumpet and handbells as well as producing. Mountain played their fourth live gig at the Woodstock Festival, but the band did not appear in the film of the event nor was it included on the first album. Soon after, Smart was replaced by Laurence "Corky" Laing. The group's first album, Climbing!, was released in 1970 and featured the band's best-known song, "Mississippi Queen"; the song reached the middle of the top 40 charts and the album reached the top 20 on the US album charts. The follow-up album Nantucket Sleighride (1971) also reached the top 20 on the US albums chart but failed to yield a hit single. After these early releases the band continued to receive a certain measure of critical acclaim but never achieved great commercial success. After Nantucket Sleighride, the band faced creative difficulties and failed to progress on their next album. The band broke up in 1972. West and Laing later formed West, Bruce and Laing with Cream bassist Jack Bruce. They released three albums (two studio and one live). In 1974 West and Pappalardi reformed Mountain with Allan Schwartzberg on drums and Bob Mann (of Dreams) on keyboards and guitar - a tour yielded the live double album Twin Peaks. The studio work Avalanche, with Laing on drums and rhythm guitarist David Perry, who as an African American was also credited for "added color". It was the last heard from Mountain until the mid 1980s since which West, sometimes with and sometimes without Laing, has worked under the name Mountain, New Mountain or the Leslie West Band. On April 17, 1983, Gail Collins Pappalardi, Felix's wife and songwriting partner who had designed many of the band's album covers, shot Pappalardi in the neck in their fifth-floor East Side Manhattan apartment. He was pronounced dead at the scene and Collins was charged with second-degree murder. She was cleared of that charge but convicted of the lesser criminally negligent homicide and sentenced to 16 months to four years in jail. After her release from jail, she vanished into private life. The band has reformed, and Richie Scarlet has taken over as bass player on the band's recent tours. Scarlet is also known for his work with Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley, Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach and for his multuiple solo records. In 2003 West and Laing produced a book of recollections called "Nantucket Sleighride" detailing their time with the band at its peak and their subsequent careers. Published by S.A.F. Publishing ISBN 0 946719 62 4


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Eric said...

Hi P, I used to watch the sci-fi show "Mutant X" and it was cool they used the Mountain tune of the same name as theme music.
Decent show too.

I never thought of the Dan trivia answer...

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Eric. I never saw that TV show. I never knew Mountain's music was used for tv. More interesting trivia! The Dan trivia answer is "Snowbound". It's on Genesis' 1978 "And Then There Were Three" album. It's also the name of a Becker & Fagen tune...Not on a Steely Dan album, but on Don Fagen's "Kamakiriad" album! Cheers, Eric. TTU soon - P.

Eric said...

I miss that show Mutant X.
Huh, I would of never known the Dan trivia answer,I lost track / interest in Genesis once Peter Gabrial left.
Thanks for enlighting me though :D

A.O.O.F.C said...

We gotta get some more Dan Q's soon!-P.

Eric said...

Yes, more trivia on the Dan is always interesting / fun :D

I still need to digout the Musician mag. feature on them from the early 80's and scan + send.
One day you'll get an email with enclosed and be surprised.
Pleasant surprises are always cool.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks, Eric. You're a very kind bloke. I could do with a nice surprise at the moment. I'm trying to come to terms with my Dad dying. But he loved all kinds of music, like me. So thanks for helping me out. I'll talk to you soon. Sorry if I'm missing any e-mails from you. I'll contact you as soon as I possibly can