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music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Climbing

Artist: Mountain
Genre: Rock
Release Date: July 1992

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
4 stars out of 4

My oh my does this music sound gooood! If you think about it, Mississippi Queen always did sound great, all cranked up full blast blaring out of your speakers. It is about time that the Mountain catalog got the remaster treatment. Not only is their music classic so are the album covers. I am sure that you would find this and other covers from this bands catalog in any good book dedicated to LP art.

Their first album was Climbing, released in 1970, introducing a mountain of a man named Leslie West on guitar (he was in a band previously called the Vagrants with his brother). West played blues influenced power chords and sang like a hungry lion, man could he growl to answer that big fat loud sound of his guitar. Before the band got together he saw Cream and Eric Clapton at the Fillmore in NYC, he was changed forever. It came as no surprise that the comparisons to Claptons group began right from the start for this band.

In the liner notes, West mentions that he got a chance to jam with Jimi Hendrix on one opportune afternoon, and Hendrix played bass while the amazed star struck West played lead. I can only imagine what an experience that must have been for him, not to mention inspirational. Corky Laing also adds some informative liner notes recalling what happened behind the music.

West and his cohorts, established producer Felix Pappalardi (Bass, Guitar, Piano, Guitar (Rhythm), Vocals, Producer, Musical Director) Corky Laing (Percussion, Drums, Liner Notes) and Steve Knight (Organ, Handbells) were a good fit for the stout West and his heavy metal sound. In case you did not know, West was to find out later in life that he had diabetes and then lost a lot of weight. When Pappalardi sang lead, he sounded like Jack Bruce and there was no coincidence that they covered Theme from an Imaginary Western on their first release. As fate would have it, Bruce would later join what was left of the group, Laing and West, to form a power trio super group West, Bruce & Laing for three albums then they disbanded.

Never in My Life seemed to pick up where Mississippi Queen left off with rowdy guitar and powerful strident vocals provided by West. To My Friend would show a softer side of the group featuring delicate acoustic guitar, making it known to their audience that they could do more than just rock. For Yasgur's Farm (which is also included as a bonus live track) was another classic with the multi-talented Felix on lead vocals. I think what made this band so engaging is the fact that they could switch back and forth effectively with the lead vocal position, offering a variety of more tasteful music that many hard rock bands could not afford their listeners. You could enjoy hard rockin with Leslie or hear Felixs smooth voice accompanied by the more textured organ oriented sound. It worked well both ways. This music sounds fantastic remastered and I am sure anyone that has collected the bands catalog will want to have these discs now. Just as it says on the back of this CDTHIS RECORD WAS MEANT TO BE PLAYED LOUD. What more can I say, this was killer rock music in 33 years ago and it still is.

1. Mississippi Queen - 2:32
2. Theme from an Imaginary Western - 5:07
3. Never in My Life - 3:53
4. Silver Paper - 3:18
5. For Yasgur's Farm - 3:23
6. To My Friend - 3:38
7. The Laird - 4:39
8. Sittin' on a Rainbow - 2:22
9. Boys in the Band - 3:43
10. For Yagur's Farm - 4:18 *Live Bonus Track



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