Leslie West - 'Mountain'

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Leslie West - 'Mountain'

Some good, old-school, no frills distorted Blues Rock with the kind of production you just don't get anymore.

Not to be confused with the band Leslie West would form with the same name, 'Mountain' is the first solo album from the respected guitar player. Issued all the way back in 1969 and featuring West on the cover sporting a huge afro the likes of which Rob Tyner from The MC5 would be proud, the image may be dated by the music still retains a real vibrancy.

The heavy 'Blood Of The Sun' sees West peeling out a hard hitting riff and bellowing vocals over a warm, late sixties production that sounds particularly good. 'Long Red' is more mellow with a sizable hook on top of a slightly odd but intriguing change of chords. 'Better Watch Out' has West's guitar battling for space against a huge bass sound courtesy of Felix Pappalardi, who also co-wrote a chunk of the material, acted as producer and would be retained by West when he formed Mountain.

'Blind Man' is a real heavy Blues workout which suits West's yelling, raw vocal style while the excellent 'Dreams Of Milk And Honey' is a great example of what West is all about as a guitarist. There's a dark, brooding take on 'This Wheel's On Fire' which Julie Driscoll had enjoyed a hit with the year earlier, but frankly I enjoyed the original compositions much more, especially the foot tapper 'Southbound Train'.

West will certainly be best remembered when he hangs the guitar up for his work with Mountain, but this is worthy of checking out to see how it all started and where that band began. Despite its age, the music has stood up really well and while Leslie West's full-throated vocal approach might get a little wearing after a bit, if you want some good, old-school, no frills distorted Blues Rock with the kind of production you just don't get anymore, this album delivers that all ends up.

James Gaden

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