Leslie West – Mountain (1969)

FrontCover1Leslie West (born Leslie Weinstein; October 22, 1945) is an American rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. He is best known as a founding member of the hard rock band Mountain.

West was born in New York City, to a Jewish family. He grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey, and in East Meadow, New York, Forest Hills, New York and Lawrence, New York. After his parents divorced, he changed his surname to West. His musical career began with The Vagrants, an R&B/Blue-eyed soul-rock band influenced by the likes of The Rascals that was one of the few teenage garage rock acts to come out of the New York metropolitan area itself (as opposed to the Bohemian Greenwich Village scene of artists, poets and affiliates of the Beat Generation, which produced bands like The Fugs and The Velvet Underground). The Vagrants had two minor hits in the Eastern US: 1966’s “I Can’t Make a Friend” and a cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” the following year.

Some of the Vagrants’ recordings were produced by Felix Pappalardi, who was also working with Cream on their album Disraeli Gears. In 1969, West and Pappalardi formed LeslieWest1968the pioneering hard rock act Mountain, which was also the title of West’s debut solo album. Rolling Stone identified the band as a “louder version of Cream”. With Steve Knight on keyboards and original drummer N. D. Smart, the band appeared on the second day of the Woodstock Festival on Saturday, August 16, 1969 starting an 11-song set at 9 pm. (by wikipedia)

And here´s the first solo-album, called “Mountain”:

Frequently classified as the first album by the group Mountain, which was named after it, Leslie West’s initial solo album featured bass/keyboard player Felix Pappalardi, who also produced it and co-wrote eight of its 11 songs, and drummer N.D. Smart II. (This trio did, indeed, tour under the name Mountain shortly after the album’s release, even performing at Woodstock, though Smart was replaced by Corky Laing and Steve Knight was added as keyboard player for the formal recording debut of the group, Mountain Climbing!, released in February 1970.) Pappalardi had been Cream’s producer, and that power trio, as well as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, were the models for this rock set, which was dominated by West’s throaty roar of a voice and inventive blues-rock guitar playing. Though West had led the Vagrants for years and cut a handful of singles with them, this was his first album release, and it made for an auspicious debut, instantly establishing him as a guitar hero and setting the style of Mountain’s subsequent recordings. /by by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Felix Pappalardi (bass, keyboards)
N.D. Smart II (drums)
Leslie West (guitar, vocals)
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Norman Landsberg (organ on 02., 07. + 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Blood Of The Sun (Pappalardi/Collins/West) 2.38
02. Long Red (Pappalardi/Ventura/West/Landsberg) 3.19
03. Better Watch Out (Pappalardi/Collins) 2.51
04. Blind Man (Pappalardi/Collins/Ventura/West) 3.56
05. Baby, I’m Down (Pappalardi/Collins) 4.05
06. Dreams Of Milk & Honey (Pappalardi/Ventura/West/Landsberg) 3.37
07. Storyteller Man (Pappalardi/Ventura/West/Landsberg) 3.08
08. This Wheel’s On Fire (Dylan/Danko) 3.22
09. Look To The Wind (Pappalardi/Ventura/West) 2.46
10. Southbound Train (Ventura/West/Landsberg) 3.02
11. Because You Are My Friend (West) 3.13

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My copy of this was autographed by Leslie West, I meet him a few years earlier in Munich/Germany

Henry Mancini – The Pink Panther (OST) (1963)

FrontCover1The Pink Panther, British comedy film, released in 1963, that was the first and arguably the best entry in the Pink Panther film series.

Bumbling French detective Jacques Clouseau (played by Peter Sellers) is assigned to prevent the notorious villain Phantom (David Niven) from stealing a world-famous jewel known as the Pink Panther, which belongs to a princess (Claudia Cardinale) who is on holiday at an Alpine resort. The film evokes a bygone era in which screen heroes were seemingly always dressed in tuxedos and able to produce a clever witticism or seductive line for every occasion. Though the film was a comedy, Sellers’s Clouseau was not yet the over-the-top character he would later become.

Fans familiar only with the subsequent entries in the Panther series may find this initial film relatively slow moving when compared with the slapstick farces that followed. However, the Inspector Clouseau character was never intended to inspire a series, and many critics have concluded that the sophistication of this film was never equaled in the sequels. Henry Mancini’s famous jazz theme song and the pink animated cartoon panther that opens and closes the movie are integral parts of cinematic history. The Pink Pather was directed by Blake Edwards, who helmed subsequent installments. (by www.britannica.com)

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Everybody shoul know this great movie, and everyody shoul know the wonderful soundtrack, written by Henry Mancini:

The Pink Panther is another fine, early-’60s soundtrack from Henry Mancini. The title track became one of his most recognizable themes and kicks off a pleasant program of dreamy lounge cuts and Latin-tinged numbers. As he did on many other movie/TV albums (Touch of Evil, Peter Gunn, etc.), Mancini also includes some noirish, big band numbers, like “The Tiber Twist” and the main title.

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Along with these up-tempo songs, he balances out the mostly light material with the solidly swinging mambos “The Village Inn,” “Something for Sellers” (as in Peter Sellers, the movies’ star), and “It Had Better Be Tonight” (co-written by frequent partner Johnny Mercer and something of a minor vocal hit upon its release). The program’s highlights, though, come from the kind of sublime (some might say cheesy) ballads he usually included on his soundtracks; the after-hours jazz tune “Royal Blue” stands out in particular, with its tasteful string arrangement and glowing trumpet solo. This is a great title for fans of Mancini’s lounge/soundtrack material, but those more into his jazz material should consider either his Peter Gunn or Combo soundtracks. (by Stephen Cook)

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Personnel:
Henry Mancini Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. The Pink Panther Theme 2:35
02. It Had Better Be Tonight (Meglio Stasera) (instrumental version) 1:44
03. Royal Blue 3:09
04. Champagne And Quail 2:45
05. The Village Inn 2:34
06. The Tiber Twist 2:47
07. It Had Better Be Tonight (Meglio Stasera) (vocal version) 1:56
08. Cortina 1:52
09. The Lonely Princess 2:25
10.Something For Sellers 2:45
11. Piano And Strings 2:34
12. Shades Of Sennett 1:22

Music composed by Henry Mancini
Lyriks written by Johnny Mercer (on 07.)

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Blake Edwards (right) directing Peter Sellers in The Pink Panther (1963)