Mountain is an American rock band that formed in Long Island, New York in 1969. Originally comprising vocalist and guitarist Leslie West, bassist/vocalist Felix Pappalardi, keyboardist Steve Knight and drummer N. D. Smart, the band broke up in 1972 and has reunited frequently since 1973, remaining active today. Best known for their cowbell-tinged song “Mississippi Queen”, as well as for their performance at the famous Woodstock Festival in 1969, Mountain is one of many bands to be commonly credited as having influenced the development of heavy metal music in the 1970s.
LeslieWestIn early 1969 Leslie West, formerly of the Long Island R&B band The Vagrants, put together a band, Leslie West Mountain (a reference to his then-large size), with Norman Landsberg (keyboards, bass) and Ken Janick (drums) and began playing concerts. Right around this time, former Cream collaborator Felix Pappalardi expressed an interest in producing West’s work] West, previously disgruntled and unsatisfied with the lack of success he desired in his first project, found Cream to be a great inspiration. He began to feel disillusioned with the R&B and Blues scenes of the 1960s that he previously played in. West immediately dropped the style and envisioned a project that would take on a rawer and much harder style of Rock N’ Roll which he had begun to favor. The resulting solo album by Leslie West, Mountain, featured Pappalardi, Landsberg and former Remains drummer N.D. Smart. The album spotlighted West’s raw vocals and melodic, bluesy guitar style, and Pappalardi’s bass lines were prominent throughout. According to West, when Pappalardi asked what would be next, West suggested the pair go on the road. The group was heavily influenced by seminal British blues-rock band Cream (with which Pappalardi had been a frequent collaborator: he produced Disraeli Gears, Goodbye and Wheels of Fire, also contributing viola, brass, bells and organ to the latter) and also comprised keyboardist Steve Knight, who was added after Landsberg left to form another group, Hammer, with Janick.
Naming themselves Mountain after West’s album, West, Pappalardi, Smart and Knight played shows on the West Coast before getting to play their fourth concert as a working band at the 1969 Woodstock Festival in Bethel, New York. Mountain was received enthusiastically by the festival audience but the band did not appear in the film of the event, nor was their performance included on volume 1 of the festival’s live album. Their performances of “Blood of the Sun” (from West’s album) and “Theme for an Imaginary Western” (a song they planned to record for Climbing and co-written by former Cream bassist Jack Bruce) did appear on the second volume of Woodstock performances.
Soon after Woodstock, Smart was replaced by Canadian Laurence “Corky” Laing, who was the drummer on the classic Climbing!, which was released in March 1970. (by wikipedia)
And here´s a pretty good bootleg from the very early days of Mountain, including many of their early songs … including this monster song called “Dreams Of Milk And Honey”.
“Forty years ago, Woodstock changed the face of modern music.
A few months later, one of the bands that broke into America’s consciousness during the weekend of August 15-18, 1969 brought their fresh sound to New Canaan High School.
“I think people thought that the world was going to change after Woodstock, but the music changed more than anything else,” said Leslie West, guitarist and singer for Mountain, a high intensity rock-blues band that was often called the American Cream.
Featuring West alongside former Cream producer and session bassist Felix Pappalardi, Mountain played one of their first shows at Woodstock.
But for Mountain, Woodstock was only part of the success. 1969 was their time to make a name for themselves as a power rock band, with a sound that hinted at what would become the metal genre. They were touring all over, and one of their stops was New Canaan High School.
According to newspaper articles from the time, the concert was organized by the Teen Council in New Canaan. Any profits were earmarked for building a teen center.
One story in the New Canaan Advertiser, headlined “Mountain Comes to the Teens” from December 11, 1969, praised the local teens for their initiative in arranging the benefit. The paper also lauded the band with a kind of amiable squareness, “Though it’s only a foursome, it’s a very hip foursome… and, man, the kids really dig!”
The concert took place on a Tuesday night, December 23. A report from the Dec. 30 Advertiser read, “The place was jammed with swingin’ teens and quite a few adults, too, one of whom summed it all up in a word: ‘Fantastic!'”
Someone—West doesn’t think it was a musician—brought a tape recorder to the show. In 2005, the record label Trademark of Quality got a hold of the bootleg, paired it with a selection of tracks from Mountain’s Woodstock appearance, and released the resulting album as part of their Official Bootleg Series. The audio quality is, to be kind, poor, but the music is still exciting.
West’s bluesy guitar takes ecstatic extended solos, and the band plays tunes including “Blood of the Sun,” “Theme for an Imaginary Western,” and “Long Red,” alongside the blues classic “Stormy Monday.”
The band’s biggest hit, “Mississippi Queen,” didn’t make an appearance at Woodstock, and wasn’t recorded at the New Canaan show, though West remembers writing it with drummer Corky Miller around that time. But that tune brought Mountain renewed attention when it was recently included in several video games.
“Because of the game Rock Band and Guitar Hero, all of a sudden, eight- and nine-year-olds know a song we wrote back in 1969,” West says. “So I guess that year was good for us, and good for everybody.”” (patch.com/connecticut/newcanaan)
The quality of these recordings are really not so bad … but as everyone know, this is a bootleg !
Recorded live at the New Canann Teen Council, CT / December 09, 1969
Steve Knight (organ)
Corky Laing (drums)
Felix Pappalardi (bass, vocals)
Leslie West (guitar, vocals)
01. Blood Of The Sun (Pappalardi/Collins/West) 3.13
02. Long Red (Pappalardi/Ventura/West/Landsberg) 5.23
03. Guitar Solo (West) Theme For An Imaginary Western (Bruce/Brown) 6.01
04. Dreams Of Milk And Honey (West/Pappalardi/Ventura/Landsberg)
05. Stormy Monday (Walker) 6.30
06. Baby I’m Down (Pappalardi/Collins) 5.31
07. For Yasgur’s Farm (Laing/Rea/Pappalardi/Collins/Ship/Gardos) 3.48
08. Never In My Life (Laing/ Pappalardi/Collins/West) / Drum Solo (Laing) 5.56.
09. Silver Paper (Laing/Pappalardi/Collins/Gardos/West/Knight) / Guitar Solo (West) 10.26