Mountain: Theme For an Imaginary Western

Mountain had a dual personality. It was a great and influential power trio that played at Woodstock and had a direct link to Cream, the ultimate super group (bassist Felix Pappalardi produced three Cream albums). It created Mississippi Queen, one of the most recognizable songs in the history of rock-and-roll.

On the other hand, the band became a punch line of jokes about lead guitarist Leslie West’s size, his appearances on The Howard Stern show and the excesses of rock-and-roll.

The band’s second most known song is the title track for its best album, Nantucket Sleighride. Long Red, which is from the album Live: The Road Goes Ever On, shows that everything else notwithstanding, West is a brilliant guitar player. The beginning drum section is said to be one of the most sampled in hip-hop. Here is a poorly recorded but interesting earlier performance of the song.

Other worthwhile clips are Roll Over Beethoven and Never in My Life, which is from Nantucket Sleighride.

Pappalardi was killed by his girlfriend in 1983. Last year, West lost part of his right leg to an infection caused by type 2 diabetes. West seems okay, though: Here he leads a group through Stormy Monday at a rock-and-roll fantasy camp after the operation. Mountain’s short discography is here.


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