Monday, July 25, 2016

Mountain - The Road Goes Ever On - Live (1972)

(1969–74, 1981–85, 1992–98, 2001– present)
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Mountain is one of those rare bands in the past thirty years that can be credited with forging a style and sound that would for ever change the face of Rock music. The innovative studio and live music of Leslie West, Felix Pappalardi, Corky Laing and Steve Knight, Mountain, is one of those elite examples.The combination of Leslie’s unique tone and feel, Felix’s studio production skills,Corky’s powerful double bass drumming and Steve’s keyboard textures, produced some of the best and memorable rock tunes ever, Mississippi Queen, Nantucket Sleighride, Theme From an Imaginary Western, Yasgur’s Farm, Never In My Life, Blood of the Sun, Dreams of Milk and Honey, all stand the test of time and are forever etched in rock history. These songs came from the classic rock albums, Leslie West-Mountain, Mountain-Climbing! and Nantucket Sleighride. Mountain only lasted two and half years but that’s all it took to create their permanent legacy …

Mountain was born out of the sixties music explosion. Leslie came from The Vagrants,an East Coast power house band that was making a name for themselves. Corky came from the band Energy that was produced by Felix Pappalardi. Felix had extensive producing credits before Mountain formed in 1969.He was a classically trained musician who studied conducting and music arranging in college. His skills eventually lead him to Mountain. He produced Cream’s Disreali Gears and worked with many other prominent artists from the Greenwich Village folk scene. Steve Knight was brought in by Felix because of prior musical affiliations. Eventually this small web of the music scene brought these four guys together. They debuted at the Fillmore in 1969 and went on to play at the granddaddy of all music festivals Woodstock. They established themselves as one of the premiere rock bands of their time. The band eventually called it quits in 1972.

Leslie West
Mountain was one of those magical music collaborations that can’t be duplicated. Just like Cream, the Beatles, Led Zepplin, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience,The Rolling Stones,or any great band it’s a once in a lifetime twist of fate that brings individuals together to make their mark on history of music. In their short musical life they produced three gold albums and created one of the most recognized rock tunes “Mississippi Queen”. The most enduring legacy any band can hope to achieve is to have others generations of musicians aspire to copy them. Leslie West’s guitar playing did that for many guitarists. He had that rare gift to have his own tone and touch that helped define the Mountain sound. Whether you love or hate them, you can’t deny them their place in rock music.  [extract from sun103.com]

Mountain Live: The Road Goes Ever On is the fourth album by hard rock band Mountain. Released following the band's first breakup in 1972, Windfall Records compiled the album using old live material. Mountain would later reform in 1974. The title comes from J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit.

Felix Pappalardi
I have always had a soft spot for Mountain, Leslie West was one of my favorite guitarists growing up and I used to think Nantucket Sleighride was the greatest song ever written. This live rendition of Nantucket Sleighride, all 17 and a half minutes, will blow you away. Rock and roll as it should be. Being a huge fan of live albums, I was pumped to hear a live recording of Mountain in their prime (although it's only 4 songs) including that extended side-length version of their best song. 

One thing that makes this album fantastic is that you can "feel" the excitement of the crowd while listening to it.   The guitar sound is enormous, and Leslie Wests constant rearrangement of the lead guitar lines of Mountains songs is always interesting, but on this album they just shine.  The guy is the master of major scale melody as well as minor scale blues, and at times his guitar lines almost sound nursery rhyme-like.     

Album Review
"Long Red" - Great song from Leslie's solo album, and the live cut on this album is fantastic...complete with great energy and drumming from Corky and a blistering guitar solo from Leslie. Hey, dozens of hip-hop artists have sampled this track, so it's got to be worth something. 
L-R: Steve Knight, Felix Pappalardi, Leslie West
"Waiting to Take you Away" - Interesting pick for them to include as one of only four tracks on this live album since it is only an OK song and they could have used any one of their hits from Climbing! instead (Mississippi Queen, Theme..., Yasgur's Farm, Never In My Life, etc.), but Leslie does a great job making this song sound worthy of inclusion and adds a decent guitar solo. 

"Crossroader" - Also not one of my favorite Mountain songs, but is on here because they were promoting the album at the time...One of Felix's great bass lines and Leslie fills in as only he can as usual. 
L-R: Felix Pappalardi, Leslie West, Corky Laing
"Nantucket Sleighride" - One of the most underrated songs in the pantheon of Rock & Roll. This oft-overlooked guitar epic is captured in it's finest form on this record. There are longer versions (Twin Peaks) and harder rocking versions (Mystic Fire), but no other version of this song is as complete and indulgent (without being over-the-top) as the 17-minute cut on 'The Road Goes On Forever'. 
Corky and Felix work together setting the mood throughout the entire song, making the listener truly believe they are travelling in a whaling boat in New England. Leslie adds in fill after fill throughout the verses and rips out some spectacular licks during his epic guitar solos that invoke the chaos and trauma of harpooning a whale and the ensuing "Nantucket Sleighride" as it is called. Fantastic live version! A must listen for all guitar-lovers. 


Overall, an excellent live album by a great American band in their prime, my biggest complaint is that the album is too short (see Twin Peaks) and with too many good songs not included, but still bang for bucks, one of the best live recordings of the 70's...and there were a lot of good ones !
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This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my trusty Australian vinyl - which has outlived three turntables and umpteen number of stylus's. Still sounds as good as the day it had its first spin.  Full album artwork and label scans are also included.
Play this one LOUD Folks!

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Track Listing
01 - Long Red   (5:43)
02 - Waiting To Take You Away  (4:37)
03 - Crossroader   (6:14)
04 - Nantucket Sleighride   (17:22)


Mountain were:
Leslie West (Guitars and Vocals)
Felix Pappalardi (Bass and Vocals)
Corky Laing (Drums)
Steve Knight (Keyboards)
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3 comments:

  1. Was never a huge fan of Mountain, but, since I've been living in the Boston area now about 30 years, the lore about an actual "nantucket sleigh ride" i thought was really cool...it wasn't just a song title, but a real nickname in the days of whaling in New England and how, when speared, the whale would thrash and drag the whaling boat for miles and miles out into the Atlantic ocean......i just thought that idea was pretty unusual for a band to discover.....

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  2. Thanks for this.

    First time I tried the mp3 link it defaulted to amazon and other fine places to purchase.

    Second time (after verifying the flac files it loaded directly to mediafile.
    (Usually it is all or nothing choice, weird)

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  3. Thank you! Although I consider them something of a "guilty pleasure" they are one of my all-time favorite rock bands.

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