The Odds & Ends – “Never Learn” (1966)

Band : The Odds & Ends 

Country Of Origin : U.S.A.

Track : “Never Learn” (7-inch Single), written by M. Marotta, S. Prosen

7-inch Single : A’ Side Single “Never Learn”, B’ Side Single “(Hey Little Girl) Before You Go”

Label : Red Bird Records (RB 10-083)

Date/Year Of Release : September 1966

Category/Music Genres :  Rock, U.S.A., 1960s (A’ Side Singles)

The Odds & Ends – “Never Learn” A’ Side Single

Video on YouTube

The Odds & Ends – ” (Hey Little Girl) Before You Go” B’ Side Single

Video on YouTube

The Odds & Ends – ” Never Learn” 

Lyrics 

Well I tried so very hard to please you
Yet you never learned
The secret of my love is easy, easy to learn
You can see the real me and how I feel
To be true love takes two, now we must part

Never learn!
No, no, no you’ll never learn

Told you once, told you twice
But deep inside I know
That some day you will turn away and hurt me so

Never learn!
No, no, no you’ll never learn

When I stood beside you I believed you, now I can not hide
The love I knew slowly faded, until it died
What must be – is to be, no one’s to blame
I just can’t feel the same without your heart

Never learn!
No, no, no you’ll never learn

Never!

A: Never Learn
B: (Hey Little Girl) Before You Go

Credits 

Sid Prosen – Producer

External Links

The Odds & Ends – “Never Learn” Audio/Video file link on Last Fm

Six Feet Under – “What Would You Do?” (1969/1970)

 

Band : Six Feet Under (Formed in 1966 out of the ashes of the Marc 5 and Sonix, in Colonia, New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Country Of Origin : U.S.A.

Track : “What Would You Do?” (A3 track, studio recording)

Album : “In Retrospect 1969-’70″ (Compilation album, including studio/home recordings and bonus tracks)

Label : Arf! Arf! Records (AA-074)

Date/Year Of Recording/Release : Recorded in 1969-1970, released in 1998

Category/Music Genres : Garage/Psychedelic Rock, U.S.A., 1960s/1970s

Six Feet Under – “What Would You Do?” 

Video on YouTube

The song is included on the album “In Retrospect 1969-’70” (A3 track,  studio recording)

“In Retrospect 1969-’70” album (released in 1998)

Album cover photo (front and back)

Image result for six feet under in retrospect

Six Feet Under – “In Retrospect 1969-’70” Full Album Video on YouTube

Tracks

1 Inspiration in My Head – 2:28
2 Freedom – 4:07
3 What Would You Do? – 3:43
4 Baby I Want to Love You – 8:08
5 In Retrospect – 4:04
6 Fields – 3:04
7 Running Around in the Sun – 3:28
8 Black Movies – 3:20
9 Six Feet Under Theme – 2:46
10 Suzy Q – 6:18
11 City Blues – 5:12
12 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (D. Ingle) – 11:52
13 Basement Jam – 0:47
14 Sonix Commercial – 0:58
15 Inspiration in My Head – 2:51
16 Freedom – 4:30
17 What Would You Do? – 5:53
18 Fields – 3:05
19 Boogie Man Bash – 0:44

Six Feet Under

Line-up 

Jay Crystal –  Drums
Nanette DeLaune – Vocals
Jerry Dobb – Keyboards, Vocals
Scott Julian – Guitar
Hector Torres – Drums
Duane Ulgherait  – Bass
Richie – Drums (only on track #9)

Information about the album/band

“This Colonia, NJ ensemble captured the changing times and sociological upheaval of the pre-Woodstock Nation. Like the Jefferson Airplane, Neighb’rhood Childr’n and The United States Of America, Six Feet Under was blessed with a dynamic diva who soared amidst searing fuzz leads, swirling organ chords, and gifted songwriting with prophetic lyrics”. (from their CD-release “In Retrospect 1969-’70”).

“As Bar Mitzvah presents, Jerry Dobb receives an Acetone electronic organ with Kalamazoo Amplifier and Scott Julian receives an Epiphone electric guitar and amp. The friends decide to form a band in the archetypal New York City suburb of Colonia, New Jersey. First band is named the Marc 5 (for no reason that I can now remember – no one named Marc in the band). The band consists of Jerry and Scott, Bob Briendel on bass (he had no idea how to play. Scott showed him where to put his fingers), Phil Mazuski on drums and the only real musician, Joe “Musky” Muscolino on saxophone.
The band had a repertoire of about 10 songs, including “Summertime,” “Tequila” and “The Batman Theme.” Playing a private pool party and someone requested “Moon River.” Musky knew it, so we faked it behind him. It was pretty awful, but the guests were too drunk to care and actually gave us an extra tip for playing it! The thirteen year olds in the band hook up with a seemingly much older, 17 year old singer named Pete (don’t remember his last name) and change the name of the band to the Sonix. Pete is an R&B enthusiast and the song list changes to include “I Got You,” “Mustang Sally” and other soul songs. Pete performs James Brown style with spins, splits and yelps.
The hand uniform is pointy-toed black shoes, black pants, pink Italian high-roll collar shirts and burgundy button front sweaters. The band decides that they’d like to follow a more hip and hippy style of music. Pete departs and the group reforms as Six Feet Under. Phil is replaced by Ritchie on drums. Bob, who never really took to music, is replaced by Duanc Ulghcrait on bass. Joe leaves for an established soul band. A girl singer (name unknown) briefly comes and goes. Ritchie, while an excellent drummer, proves to be volatile and is replaced by Hector “Tico” Torres from Sayerville N.J. Where did the name Six Feet Under come from? Well after the Sonix, the hand wanted a new hipper name.
The first thing decided was that the name shouldn’t begin with “The.” After some brainstorming, someone mentioned that the British band Ten Years After didn’t start with “The” and was kind of cool. So we started coming up with phrases that fit that pattern; a number, a noun, and an adverb. We also wanted a name that was kind of dark and slightly threatening, like the Grateful Dead. Ultimately someone came up with Six Feet Under, and we immediately realized that it was the perfect moniker. Later, when Nannette joined the band the sound softened a bit, but the name stuck until the end.
When the dust settles it’s Jerry on organ and vocals, Scott on guitar, Duane on bass and Tico on drums. Tico plays a drum set that belonged to his dad, circa the mid-1940s. The bass drum was oversized and the tom-toms were nailed onto the bass. A friend of Tico’s paints a beautiful oil painting of a woman’s head floating above a grave with ghostly hands reaching up, trying to retrieve it. This is cut out and inserted into the front of the bass drum. A simplified line drawing of the painting is used as a promotional hand-out.
The band plays at least one night most weekends and improves. Gigs include dances, Rutger’s University fraternity parties, battle of the band competitions and local festivals in and around Northern New Jersey. The songs now include a lot of Doors material, Cream, Hendrix, and the signature song, a relatively faithful rendition of the complete “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” The First original songs appear, including “The Six Feet Under Theme” and “Karen.” Around this time the opportunity to record appears.
Fifteen year old Nanette DeLaune joins the band as “chick singer” a la Grace Slick. Jay Crystal begins as drummer. While preparing to record the band continues to play gigs, many times two a weekend. The material now includes songs by the Jefferson Airplane, Rolling Stones, Santana, Ten Years After and Blind Faith. Show stoppers include a rousing version of “Soul Sacrifice” and a 15 minute set of songs from the Who’s “Tommy.” Original material is written by Jerry and practised.
The band records at the Scepter Studios. Jerry uses a Hammond B-3 with Leslie tone cabinet for the first time. “Inspiration In My Head” is “released.” The band is angry because the extended instrumental break at the end of the song is edited out. Friends and relatives convince a local record shop to order the single and buy a few dozen copies. A local radio station plays it once on the air. The band listens in a car and can’t believe that they’re on the radio. Nothing else happens. The band goes back to the studio to record more songs.
By late fall of 1970 the band decides to split up. Jerry, Scott and Duane head to college. Jerry assembles an ad-hoc band and records some solo songs. These are never released. Nanette does some further recording also, but nothing comes of it. Jerry studies film-making at college and ultimately becomes a corporate video manager. Scott ends up as a chef in a prestigious hotel. Duane becomes a candy salesman. Musky lands in Utah where he plays and books local bands. Don’t know what became of Nanette, Jay, Bob, Phil, Ritchie, or Pete. But Hector “Tico” Torres, the guy who wasn’t good enough to record, hooked up with a younger boy from Sayerville named Jon Bon Jovi and the rest, as they say”…by Jerry Dobb, (source : “Rockasteria” Blog).
External Links

The Strawberry Alarm Clock – “The World’s On Fire” (1967)

Band : The Strawberry Alarm Clock (Formed in 1967, in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.)

Country Of Origin : U.S.A.

Track : “The World’s On Fire” (Opening track)

Album : “Incense And Peppermints (Debut Album)

Label : UNI Records (73014)

Date/Year Of Release : November 1967

Category/Music Genres : Acid Rock, Psychedelic Rock, U.S.A., 1960s


The Strawberry Alarm Clock – “The World’s On Fire”

Video on YouTube

Lyrics 

The world (the world)
Is on fire tonight (tonight)
And this flame that glows (flame that glows)
Is too hot for me to fight (to fight)
Dancing flames (dancing flames)
Twisting, turning out of sight (turning out of sight)
Smoke-filled eyes (smoke-filled eyes)
Crying, “Hold me, hold me tight” (me tight)

Tears of joy
And sad, smiling faces
Oh, make the sparkle above the brightly night

The world (the world)
Is on fire tonight (tonight)
And the flame that flows (flame that flows)
Is still burning oh so bright (so bright)
Blazing arms (blazing arms)
With a heavy appetite (appetite)
The swirling flames (swirling flames)
Blinding everyone in sight (in sight)

Sweat-filled traces
In common places
The price we pay to hear this type of fight

Fire
Fire
Fire
We’re on fire tonight

The song is included on the album “Incense And Peppermints” and it’s the album’s opening track.

“Incense And Peppermints” album 

Album cover photo (front)

Image result for strawberry alarm clock incense and peppermints

The Strawberry Alarm Clock – “Incense And Peppermints” Full Album Audio Playlist on Spotify

Incense and Peppermints is the first album by psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock. Released in November 1967, the album reached No. 11 on the Billboard 200 album charts and included the band’s No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Incense and Peppermints”. In addition to the six official members of the band, the album also featured the flute playing of Steve Bartek, who co-wrote four songs on the album with bass player George Bunnell.

The tracks “The World’s on Fire”, “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow” and “Incense and Peppermints” were all featured in the motion picture Psych-Out, along with a new song, “Pretty Song from Psych-Out”, which later appeared on the band’s second album, Wake Up…It’s Tomorrow.

A compilation album of the same name (albeit spelled with an ampersand) was released by MCA in 1990. To date, the album has been released on CD only in Japan and (more recently) on Sundazed Records.

Tracks

1. The World’s on Fire (E. King, G. Bunnell, L. Freeman, M. Weitz, R. Seol) – 8:25
2. Birds in My Tree (S. Bartek, G. Bunnell) – 1:54
3. Lose to Live (C. King, T. Stern) – 3:15
4. Strawberries Mean Love (G. Bunnell) – 3:02
5. Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow (S. Bartek, G. Bunnell) – 3:04
6. Paxton’s Back Street Carnival (S. Bartek, E. King, G. Bunnell, L. Freeman, M. Weitz, R. Seol) – 2:04
7. Hummin’ Happy (E. King, G. Bunnell, L. Freeman, M. Weitz, R. Seol) – 2:24
8. Pass Time With The SAC (G. Bunnell, L. Freeman, E. King, J. Pitman, M. Weitz) – 1:21
9. Incense and Peppermints (J. Carter, T. Gilbert) – 2:47
10.Unwind with the Clock (E. King, M. Weitz) – 4:13

Line-up 
George Bunnell – 2nd Bass Guitar, Vocals
Randy Seol – Drums, Bongos, Vibes, Vocals
Lee Freeman –  Rhythm Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Edward King – Guitar, Vocals
Mark Weitz – Vocals, Organ, Piano, Harpsichord
Gary Lovetro – 1st Bass Guitar, Vocals

Credits 

Producer – Bill Holmes, Frank Slay

Photography By – Ed Caraeff

Engineer – Paul Buff

Design [Cover Design] – Lazarus/LePrevost

Arranged By – Ed King (2), Howard Davis (2), Mark Weitz

Other [Advice] – Johnny Fairchild

Other [Clothing] – Sat Purish

External Links

The Strawberry Alarm Clock – “Incense And Peppermints” Full Album Video Playlist on YouTube

The Strawberry Alarm Clock – “Incense And Peppermints” Full Album Audio Playlist on Spotify

The Strawberry Alarm Clock – “Incense And Peppermints” Full Album Audio/Video Playlist on Last Fm

The Strawberry Alarm Clock – “Incense And Peppermints” Full Album Download Link on Rockasteria Blog

 

 

 

7-inch Singles/E.P.s Garage/Psychedelic Rock U.S.A. 1960s The Music Machine – “The People In Me”

The Music Machine – “The People In Me” Track’s Video on YouTube

Category/Music Genres :

7-inch Singles/E.P.s Garage/Psychedelic Rock U.S.A. 1960s

Band :

The Music Machine” (Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.)

The Music Machine was an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1966. Fronted by chief songwriter and lead vocalist Sean Bonniwell, the band cultivated a characteristically dark and rebellious image reflected in an untamed musical approach. Sometimes it made use of distorted guitar lines and hallucinogenic organ parts, punctuated by Bonniwell’s distinctively throaty vocals. Although they managed to attain national chart success only briefly with two singles, the Music Machine is today considered by many critics to be one of the groundbreaking acts of the 1960s. Their style is now recognized as a pioneering force in proto-punk; yet within a relatively short period of time, they began to employ more complex lyrical and instrumental arrangements that went beyond the typical garage band format.

In 1965, the band came together as a folk rock trio known as the Raggamuffins, before expanding to the quintet that was later rechristened the Music Machine. The group was known for their style of dress, clothing themselves in all-black attire. In 1966, the Music Machine was signed to Original Sound, and released its first single “Talk Talk” in the latter half of the year, with it reaching the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. Their debut album (Turn On) The Music Machine and the moderate hit “The People in Me” followed. The band’s original lineup fragmented in late 1967 after managerial and financial disputes. Bonniwell reassembled the group under the name The Bonniwell Music Machine. In 1968, a second album, The Bonniwell Music Machine appeared, but the group disbanded in early 1969.

Track :

“The People In Me” A’ Side Single ((written by Sean Bonniwell), b’ side single “Masculine Intuition”) released on Original Sound Records (OS-67) in 1967

The track is also included on the band’s debut album “(Turn On) The Music Machine” released on Original Sound Records (OSR-LPM-5015)  on 31st December 1966, recorded at RCA Recording Studios, Los Angeles California in  August 1966

Line-up :

The Music Machine :

Sean Bonniwell – Vocals, Guitars
Ron Edgar –  Drums
Mark Landon – Guitar
Keith Olsen – Bass
Doug Rhodes – Organ

Credits :

Producer :  Brian Ross

Lyrics :

Hey, Halright
Sometimes dreamin’
I’m in here schemin’ on you
Collectin’ headers
With nothin’ better to do
Memory is everywhere
Love and you is in my hair
And eyes
Maybe with the time and place
A look will come upon your face
Of surprise.
When you see the people in me
Minus you what will you do
When you see the people in me
Minus you it’s overdue
While I’m cryin
I’m rectifyin’ the cause
Friends are cheerin’
And I’m hearin’ applause
The train is here you better run
Don’t call me I’ll never come
Unto you
They’re over now the games you play
Just what you’ll do, just what you’ll say
Uh oh you
Middle
Memory is everywhere
Love and you is in my hair
And eyes
Maybe with the time and place
A look will come upon your face
Of surprise.
When you see the people in me
Minus you what will you do
When you see the people in me
Minus you it’s overdue
Hut, Halright
Songwriters: Sean Bonniwell

Information related to the track :

“Wikipedia”

The People in Me” is a song by the American garage rock band, The Music Machine, written by Sean Bonniwell, and was first released as a track on their debut album (Turn On) The Music Machine in December 1966 on Original Sound Records. The song was also released as the A-side to the group’s second single, which was distributed on January 21, 1967. Like many of Bonniwell’s compositions, “The People in Me”‘s lyrical content featured a gloomy rebellious mood, with eerie lead vocals by Bonniwell, and it explored with a hard-edged variation of psychedelic rock. It also featured guitarist Mark Landon’s wiry distorted guitar melodies, joined by backing vocals near the conclusion of the song.

“The People in Me”, with the flip side “Masculine Intutition”, was the final Music Machine single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number 66. Though it was considered a strong follow-up to their debut release “Talk Talk”, the song suffered from inadequate airplay when the band’s management angered radio producers for exclusively airing the single on a rival station. Bonniwell would pen much more experimental compositions, but the dispute damaged The Music Machine’s prospects for another charting hit.

Information related to the band :

“Wikipedia”

The nucleus of the band was formed when Sean Bonniwell (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) took part in a jam session with Keith Olsen (bass guitar) and Ron Edgar (drums; born Ronald Edgar on June 25, 1946 in Minneapolis, Minnesota) – both of whom he met in the folk music circuit. Bonniwell, already a practiced “folky,” possessed prior experience as a vocalist with the Wayfarers. The traditional folk combo had already enjoyed some regional success: releasing three albums, and building on the experience of Bonniwell who insisted on the importance of rehearsal. As Bonniwell traveled and recorded with the group, he began penning some material that would later surface with the Music Machine. However, still influenced by acts now considered passé, the Wayfarers’ musical conservatism became stifling to Bonniwell who wanted to explore the type of harder, cutting-edge stylistic possibilities that he eventually would find in rock. Prior to meeting, Olsen had previously performed in Gale Garnett’s backing band, and Edgar was a member of a bohemian folk quintet called the GoldeBriars. With the GoldeBriars, Edgar contributed to their unreleased third album that was originally intended for distribution on Epic Records, but the group disbanded before it could be released.

In 1965, the three formed their own folk rock group, the Raggamuffins, and began performing in Los Angeles with a repertoire that saw the band embrace a more unorthodox style, and depart from their traditional roots. The group also recorded four songs that went unreleased until the 2000 album, Ignition, which represented the transitional phase before the band developed into the Music Machine. Bonniwell and Olsen were enthusiastically experimenting with musical textures while the band arranged strict rehearsal regimens in Bonniwell’s garage. The Raggamuffins purchased hardware for a homemade fuzz-tone switch. From the onset Bonniwell ensured the group resonated like no other by instructing his bandmates to lower their instruments from the standard E note to D-flat.  As a result of the adjustment, the Raggamuffins were given a bottom-heavy and ominous sound. In addition, the group began dressing noire, while sporting dyed-black hair, and the trademark single leather glove that presented an eye-catching and unified band image, which would later become influential with certain 1970s punk acts. 

Auditions were held in early 1966 to expand the group, resulting in the recruitment of Mark Landon (lead guitar) and Doug Rhodes (organ), previously a session musician for the Association. To reflect on the revamped line-up, Bonniwell changed the band’s name to the Music Machine. Another purpose for coining the name, Bonniwell explained, was “I seguewayed [sic] all the original material with musical segueways [sic]. So we would be on stage for like an hour and ten minutes, wall-to-wall music just nonstop, which is why I called us the Music Machine”.  The band built a name for itself with its performances in local clubs in Los Angeles. With Bonniwell as the de facto leader and creative force of the band, the Music Machine began to develop a blend of gritty 60s punk and psychedelia, and a repertoire encompassing Bonniwell’s self-penned material along with some cover songs. The band’s sound was highlighted by the authoritative and versatile vocals provided by Bonniwell, with an energized technique that juxtaposed the styles of Mick Jagger and Sky Saxon. Unlike these two contemporaries, Bonniwell possessed unusually good intonation in long-sustained passages, and the ability to breakdown phrases into a series of slow pulsations. The Music Machine’s artistic stance was also highlighted by Landon’s wiry guitar playing, Olsen’s reverberant bass, and Edgar’s cymbal-punctuated drumming, which gave the band a harder-edged sound than many of their contemporaries. 

Commercial success (1966–1967) 

Record producer Brian Ross just happened upon the Music Machine at Hollywood Legion Lanes, a bowling alley that was an early stomping ground for the group, and signed them to a recording contract with Original Sound. On July 30, 1966, the band entered RCA Studios in Los Angeles to record the Bonniwell originals “Talk Talk” and “Come on In”, which was initially going to be the A-side for the group’s debut single. Bonniwell had composed “Talk Talk” a year prior to forming the band, and the studio time was marked by the Music Machine’s collective input aimed toward tightening the structure of its arrangements, including the two-note fuzz guitar riffs and Edgar’s precise drumming technique. By virtue of the group’s dedication to rehearsal, recording sessions concluded with the Music Machine requiring only three takes to complete the two songs. Though the band was satisfied with the acetate to “Come on In”, the members were convinced “Talk Talk” would propel them into the national charts. 

“Talk Talk” was released on September 10, 1966, on Original Sound, and rose to number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also peaked at number 21 on Cashbox and number 18 on Record WorldThe song’s relatively short time-length—a mere one minute and 56 seconds—made “Talk Talk” a favorable staple on Top 40 radio and its competing underground FM stations. The Music Machine’s hit was arguably the most radical single to appear on mainstream broadcasting in 1966, the phenomenon described by music historian Richie Unterberger as a “rally cry to social alienation with a mixture of sarcasm, rebellion, self-pity, and paranoia”. Indeed, Bonniwell’s progressive lyrics and arrangements have been credited with influencing the Doors and Iron Butterfly, as well as future punk bands. After the single’s release, the Music Machine embarked on a grueling three-month tour across the U.S., packaged with the Beach Boys, Question Mark and the Mysterians, and Clyde McPhatter. It concluded with the group receiving a poor response from the more conservative southern crowds, who criticized the band’s black outfits.  Nonetheless, for the most part, their unified image served well for the Music Machine’s national recognition, especially as the group made numerous appearances on the television programs Where the Action IsAmerican Bandstand, and Shindig!.

After their long national tour, the Music Machine returned to the studio to record their debut album, (Turn On) The Music Machine. Much to the disapproval of Bonniwell, his original material had to compete with dispensable cover versions of “Cherry, Cherry”, “Taxman”, “See See Rider”, and “96 Tears”, all chosen by their record label with an expectation that the well-known songs would increase record sales. One interpretation voluntarily selected by the band was a slow, moody, fuzz-laden arrangement of “Hey Joe” which bears a strong resemblance to Jimi Hendrix’s later version. Bonniwell first heard the folk standard in 1962 at a club in Hermosa Beach, and was convinced the tune’s tempo was too fast, as he unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the Wayfarers to record a slower version. He revisited the concept with altered lyrics after hearing Tim Rose’s regionally successful rendition in early 1966.  The throaty vocals, most evidently on “Hey Joe”, Bonniwell blames on recording “the Turn On album after a 30-day tour. Mark’s fingers were literally bleeding. I could hardly even speak, much less sing”. Despite the album’s shortcomings, (Turn On) The Music Machine managed to reach number 75 on the Billboard 200.  On January 21, 1967, a song taken from the album, “The People in Me”, was issued as the group’s second single but stalled at number 66 nationally after the band’s management angered radio executives for initially making the song exclusively available to a rival station. 

The Bonniwell Music Machine (1967–1969)

Immediately after (Turn On) The Music Machine was released, the band left for another U.S. tour, despite pleas by the group to arrange an appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival. In the small off-periods in their hard-pressed schedule, the Music Machine demoed a new batch of Bonniwell originals at RCA Studios in New York City and Cosimo Matassa’s facility in New Orleans, before polishing the tunes back in Los Angeles. From the sessions emerged the group’s third single “Double Yellow Line”, which was released in April 1967, and bubbled under the Billboard Hot 100 at number 111. The subsequent release, “Eagle Never Hunts the Fly” failed to chart, but is often described as Bonniwell’s tour de force—a tune Ross praised as “sonically compelling works and a lot to listen to, for the time. It was the kind of thing you just didn’t hear, you almost worried about getting those sounds onto a 45”. 

In May 1967, the original lineup recorded together for the final time, completing “Astrologically Incompatible”, “Talk Me Down”, and “The Day Today”. One problem that led to the band’s first breakup was the Music Machine name was actually owned by Ross, as a part of their production deal, awarding the group with little to no royalties. Leaving Bonniwell to carry on the project, Olsen, Edgar, and Rhodes went on to join the Millennium, a sunshine pop group conceived by singer-songwriter Curt Boettcher and Olsen. The Millennium recorded the album Begin in 1968 before disbanding. The three former members also took part in Boettcher’s next production, the studio group Sagittarius, releasing Present Tense, coupled with the moderately successful single “My World Fell Down”, before Edgar and Rhodes departed. Olsen stayed on board to record Sagittarius’ second album, The Blue Marble, and subsequently forged a successful career as a record producer in the 1970s. 

Undeterred, Bonniwell successfully negotiated his recording contract with Original Sound be transferred to Warner Bros. Records, in hopes of finding a greater degree of independence. The Music Machine’s spell with Original Sound was drawing to a conclusion, though the company did release “Hey Joe” as a single in 1968 in an attempt to cash in on Hendrix’s success with the song. There was also the Bonniwell solo project in association with producer Paul Buff that resulted in the rare “Nothing Is Too Good for My Car” single being put out under the name the Friendly Torpedoes. Writer Greg Russo, who composed the liner notes for the single’s remastered release, explains the side-project was initiated during a confusing transitional phase for Bonniwell that also generated the tune “Citizen Fear”, which did not receive distribution until the Ignition album in 2000. Free from company pressure, Bonniwell formed a new band, rechristened The Bonniwell Music Machine, with session musicians Ed Jones on bass guitar, Harry Garfield on organ, Alan Wisdom on lead guitar, and Jerry Harris on drums.

In March 1967, Bonniwell and Ross ushered in the new lineup at United Western Recorders to record the second album The Bonniwell Music MachineThe recording and mixing process was painstakingly masterminded almost solely by Bonniwell, who was appreciative of his new bandmates’ efforts to develop the album’s concept, but disillusioned by the project’s lack of cohesion.  He further explains that the “Warner Brothers album has such an eclectic approach; each track is (was) a singular, studio invention. Not only was my songwriting divergent, but my approach to recording was exploratory as well”. Six of the album’s tracks were holdovers from the first lineup’s sessions at Cosimo Matassa’s studio and RCA Studios. This resulted in a hodgepodge of musical styles, including exploratory approaches toward psychedelia and soft rock. On February 10, 1968, The Bonniwell Music Machine was released with little commercial success. Conseqently, the Bonniwell Music Machine was largely forgotten by the general public and the second lineup fragmented in July 1968.

Disbandment and aftermath

One final version of the Bonniwell Music Machine was assembled with a revolving door of musicians. Two more singles were released on the Warner Bros. label with little notice, before “Advice and Consent”, the group’s final single, was distributed on Bell Records in March 1969. Disenchanted by the music industry and having to tour against imitation Music Machine groups, Bonniwell gave up the rights to the band’s name and signed on to Capitol Records as a solo artist. Under the name T.S. Bonniwell, he recorded the album Close, which saw a poetically-inclined Bonniwell explore string and orchestral arrangements. Following the album’s release, Bonniwell departed on what he called his “westernized guru era”—studying eastern mysticism and practicing meditation and vegetarianism.

The band was all but forgotten after their dissolution, but the Music Machine and their music experienced a revival of interest in the late-1980s. It began with Rhino Records featuring tracks on the Nuggets compilation albums Nuggets Volume 1: The Hits and Nuggets, Volume 2: Punk, before releasing the album The Best of the Music Machine in 1984. Other compilations such as Beyond the GarageThe Very Best of the Music Machine, and Ignition have added to the Music Machine’s return to the public’s interest. In addition, “Talk Talk” and “Double Yellow Line” appear on the 1998 expanded box-set of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968

In 2000, Bonniwell published his autobiography Beyond the Garage, which recalled his experiences with the Music Machine and his life after the group’s disbandment. Aside from a few live performances with the Larksmen and a guest appearance on their 2006 album, Bonniwell never returned to an active music career, though he claimed to have penned over 300 songs after his tenure with the Music Machine. On December 20, 2011, Bonniwell died of lung cancer at a medical center in Visalia, California; he was 71 years old. Drummer Ronald “Ron” Edgar died on February 23, 2015 at the age of 68.

Discography

Studio albums

  • (Turn On) The Music Machine (1966)
  • The Bonniwell Music Machine (1968)

Extended plays

  • Talk Talk (1967)

Compilation albums

  • The Best of the Music Machine (1984)
  • The Music Machine (1994)
  • Beyond the Garage (1995)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Hits (1997)
  • Turn On: The Best of the Music Machine (1999)
  • Ignition (2000)
  • The Ultimate Turn On (2006)
  • Rarities, Vol. 1: Last Singles & Demos (2014)
  • Rarities, Vol. 2: Early Mixes & Rehearsals (2014)
  • Re-Ignition (2015)

Singles

  • “Talk Talk” b/w “Come on In” (1966)
  • “The People in Me” b/w “Masculine Intuition” (1967)
  • “Double Yellow Line” b/w “Absolutely Positively” (1967)
  • “The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly” b/w “I’ve Loved You” (1967)
  • “Hey Joe” b/w “Taxman” (1967)
  • “Advise and Consent” b/w “Mother Nature, Father Earth” (1969)

As The Bonniwell Music Machine

  • “Bottom of the Soul” b/w “Astrologically Incompatible” (1967)
  • “Me, Myself and I” b/w “Soul Love” (1968)
  • “Tin Can Beach” b/w “Time Out for a Daydream” (1968)
  • “You’ll Love Me Again” b/w “To the Light” (1968)
  • “Point of No Return” b/w “King Mixer” (1997)

Other

  • “Nothing’s Too Good for My Car” b/w “So Long Ago” (1968, as the Friendly Torpedos)

Photos related to the track :

The Music Machine – “The People In Me” Single photo (A’ Side)

Image result for The Music Machine people in me original sound

The Music Machine – “(Turn On) The Music Machine” Album cover photo (front)

THE MUSIC MACHINE TURN ON 1 (2).jpg

Photos related to the band :

Image result for music machine

Links related to the track :

The Music Machine – “The People In Me” Track’s Video on “YouTube”

The Music Machine – “(Turn On) The Music Machine” Full Album Video on “YouTube”

The Music Machine – “(Turn On) The Music Machine” Full Album Audio Playlist on “Spotify”

Links related to the band :

The Music Machine Interview with Doug Rhodes on “Craig Morrison” Website

The Music Machine Band’s Page on “Discogs”

The Music Machine Band’s Page on “Mark Prindle” Website

The Music Machine Band’s Page on “Spotify”

The Music Machine Band’s Page on “Google Play”

The Music Machine Band’s Page on “Apple Music”

The Music Machine – “The Ultimate Turn On” Full Album Download Link on “Rockasteria” Blog

 

 

 

7-inch Singles/E.P.s Garage Rock U.S.A. 1960s The Journey Men – “She’s Sorry”

The  Journey Men – “She’s Sorry” Video on YouTube

Category/Music Genres :

7-inch Singles/E.P.s Garage Rock U.S.A.1960s

Band :

The Journey Men (Brunswick, Ohio, U.S.A.)

The Journey men were a five member band of Brunswick high school students. The band included Jim Kerns on lead guitar and vocals, Howard Cook on organ and vocals, Dale Seeds on bass and vocals, Ron MacMillan on guitar and vocals, and Bob Levandowski on drums. The band decided to take a trip down to Florida and while there, recorded an excellent teen garage 45 for the Tampa based Boss label.

Discography:

She’s Sorry / Short and Sweet – Boss 008, 1967

Track :

“She’s Sorry” (written by McMillan) A’ Side Single (B’ Side single Short And Sweet”) released on Boss Records ( BOS 008) in 1967

Line-up/Credits :

Line-up :

Jim Kerns on lead guitar and vocals

Howard Cook on organ and vocals

Dale Seeds on bass and vocals

Ron MacMillan on guitar and vocals

and Bob Levandowski on drums

Credits :

Producer – John Brumage

Published By – FULPROD Music Publishing Co.

Distributed By – Charles Fuller Productions

 

Photos related to the Track :

The Journey Men – “She’s Sorry” Single Photo (A’ Side)

Image result for JOURNEY MEN SHES SORRY

Links related to the track :

The Journey Men – “She’s Sorry” Track’s Video on “YouTube”

The Journey Men – “She’s Sorry” Track’s Video on “Dailymotion”

The Journey Men – “She’s Sorry” Audio file on “Shazam”

The Journey Men – “She’s Sorry” Audio file on “SoundHound”

Links related to the band :

The Journey Men Band’s Page on “Discogs”

The Journey Men Band’s Page on “45cat”

 

 

 

 

Psychedelic Pop/Rock U.S.A. 1960s (Tracks) Birmingham Sunday – “Egocentric Solitude”

Birmingham Sunday – “Egocentric Solitude” Video on YouTube

Category/Music Genres :

Psychedelic Pop/Rock U.S.A. 1960s (Tracks) 

Band :

“Birmingham Sunday” (Carson City, Nevada, U.S.A.)

Track :

“Egocentric Solitude” A1 (written by Birmingham Sunday), (opening track) included on the album “A Message From Birmingham Sunday”

Album :

A Message From Birmingham Sunday” (debut album) released on All American Records ( AA-5718) in 1968

Original pressing on red, white and blue label.

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Album cover photo (front)

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Full Album Video on YouTube

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Full Album Audio Playlist on Spotify

Line-up/Credits :

Debbie Parke – vocals
Joe LaChew – guitar, drums, the vocals
Ward Johns – guitar
John Kvam – bass
Jean Heim – rhythm guitar, the vocals
Phil Gustafson – keyboards, Saxophones
Monty the Johns – drums

Bill Holmes – producer

Track-list :

01. Egocentrick Solitude — 3:15
02. Wondering What To Feel — 2:33
03. Prevalent Visionaries — 2:47
04. You’re Out Of Line — 2:52
05. Medieval Journey — 2:34
06. Mr. Waters (The Judge) — 2:48
07. Fate And The Magician — 1:55
08. Peter Pan Revisited — 2:12
09. Time To Land — 2:59
10. Don’t Turn Around — 2:37

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Album’s Track-list photo

Untitled

Information related to the album/band/track :

“Discogs”

US American Psychedelic Rock band from Carson City (Nevada) formed late 1960s.
Four of the musicians went to the same school, where he formed a band that played at local clubs all over northern Nevada and in the Carolinas. In 1968, they were able to conclude a contract with Bill Holmes, the producer of “Strawberry Alarm Clock” and the label “All American Record”. Vinyl has been published as a trial, a limited edition of 100 copies. Although the band played in different styles, the album is a good example of pop psychedelia. Alternating male and female vocals, using wind, keyboard and string instruments.

“Rockasteria”

Birmingham Sunday was formed in September 1966, and they were named after the Sunday concerts that took place in Birmingham, England. The original lineup of Birmingham Sunday featured bassist John Kvam, drummer Monty Johns, guitarist (and Monty’s brother) Ward Johns, organ/sax player Phil Gustafson and guitarist Joe LaChew.

Monty and Ward Johns had been in The Contrasts, who covered popular Beatles and Beach Boys tunes. John Kvam was a guitarist in the folk rock group The Scroachers, and learned bass after joining Birmingham Sunday. Phil Gustafson was the keyboardist and sax player for the rock band The Kensingtons. Gustafson was trained as a pianist and sang in the church choir, and he played sax in his high school band. Even though Phil’s voice could easily handle the demands of opera, he preferred to sing background harmony with Birmingham Sunday. Joe LaChew was the guitarist and vocalist for the group The Freedom Five, who covered the blues-based output of British bands like The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Animals. At the age of 15, LaChew earned his stripes as a songwriter when he wrote a campaign song for the Nevada governor at the time, Grant Sawyer. The Freedom Five recorded a single of Joe’s song and sold it at various campaign sites throughout the state.

Birmingham Sunday started to play teen dances throughout northern Nevada. Their biggest crowds were at the Civic Auditorium in Carson City and at Genoa Town Hall. The group put on dances and rented halls in Carson City, Genoa, Minden and Reno to cover their increasing fan base.

In 1967, Birmingham Sunday was poised for their breakthrough. Joe LaChew and Monty Johns were attending the University of Nevada in Reno, and their band had a much greater following – especially since the university dorms and fraternities now had their own party band!

That summer season, Birmingham Sunday landed a house band gig at American Legion Hall in South Lake Tahoe, California. This involved playing five days a week at the hall, plus performing as the opening act for each weekend’s entertainment. The venue was filled every summer night with Californians from the Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area. Weekend shows were extravaganzas, as well-known San Franciscan acts like The Grateful Dead and Sly And The Family Stone were frequently brought in with local favorites The Family Tree and Jim Burgett.

The American Legion Hall’s weekend festival on July 28-29, 1967 was headlined by The Grateful Dead and Jim Burgett, with Birmingham Sunday, The Justice Five and Velvet Chain on the bill. This festival is where Birmingham Sunday first heard Debbie Parke sing. Debbie was performing a guest spot with The Justice Five at the shows.

A few months later, Debbie Parks joined Birmingham Sunday, adding her strong voice to the mix. She was only 15 and a sophomore in high school. Even though Debbie’s voice was overpowering, she did not try to dominate the band. Instead, her voice blended well with the rest of the singers in the band. Birmingham Sunday was now playing more originals as part of their sets. They began attracting interest from numerous managers and record company scouts.

Phil Gustafson left for the summer to attend National Guard camp, and he was replaced by his younger brother Dave. Dave Gustafson was a child prodigy that could play any style from Beethoven and Bach to Jimmy Smith. In addition, Dave could read and copy nearly everything he heard. His great playing impressed crowds with a note-for-note rendition of The Doors’ “Light My Fire.”

Birmingham Sunday’s success carried them into 1968. Everyone’s favorite hipster, Pat Boone (!), co-sponsored a “Teen Scene” local battle of the bands with promoter Bruce Blaylock. This two-day event was held at Reno’s Centennial Coliseum, where groups like The Kinks, Buffalo Springfield, The Zombies, The Beach Boys and many others had played. The judges were the members of The Sunshine Company, who had recently enjoyed some success. The Sunshine Company had a similar approach and appreciated Birmingham Sunday’s vocal tapestry.

Birmingham Sunday was chosen with the top bands to travel to Las Vegas for the finals. The Las Vegas judges were Strawberry Alarm Clock and their manager/producer Bill Holmes. The Las Vegas band London Fogg won the battle, but Bill Holmes greatly preferred Birmingham Sunday’s original songs and he was very impressed by their vocals.

Birmingham Sunday was invited by promoter Bruce Blaylock to do some recordings in Hollywood. Blaylock was shopping the band to Nitty Gritty Dirt Band manager Bill McEuen as well as a representative of that group’s label, Liberty Records. Birmingham Sunday did an audition and received a record deal from Liberty. The record label had a song that they wanted Birmingham Sunday to record – the “Love Theme From Romeo & Juliet,” also known as “A Time For Us.” It was later recorded by Henry Mancini, Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis.

After hearing the demos, Bill Holmes took on Birmingham Sunday as their producer and manager. Holmes turned down the Liberty deal, which proved to be a big mistake when Henry Mancini’s recording became a big pop hit. Instead, Birmingham Sunday was signed to Bill Holmes’ All-American label.

Meanwhile, the band had changed. Monty Wards left after the “Teen Scene” contest for a rigorous, pre-med schedule at the University of Nevada. Birmingham Sunday auditioned singing drummers, but no one materialized. With concert bookings to be fulfilled and not much time to prepare, Joe LaChew took over as the drummer. Monty had been teaching Joe all the drum parts for their original songs, so LaChew had no problem in this transition period. Since Joe gave up his guitar to play drums, the group had to find another guitarist who could sing well. They found Jean Heim, who played rhythm guitar and a little lead guitar. Heim could also sing lead with his pure, light tenor tone.

The group perfected ten original songs and recorded them in December 1968 with Bill Holmes producing at Original Sound Recording Studios. The studio was located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, and it was owned by multiple award winning DJ and promoter Art Laboe. The legendary Paul Buff, who previously ran Pal Recording Studio before selling it to his recording partner Frank Zappa, was Original Sound’s engineer. The album “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” was recorded in five days using Buff’s own ten-track studio equipment. Paul Buff also played a Chamberlin keyboard, the American precursor to the mellotron, on the entire album. Buff’s string arrangements on the Chamberlin were essential parts of each song.

All-American selected “Prevalent Visionaries” and “Egocentric Solitude” as the respective A- and B-sides of a single released in early September 1969. The album was released the same month. Before the album was released, Bill Holmes sent a tape of the single to radio stations in Nevada.

“Egocentric Solitude” was first tracked for the week ending August 16, 1969 by Reno, Nevada radio station KIST. It reached the Top 10 in Reno that September 10, and it was #5 on KCBN. Although the single did not receive wide distribution, it did well in Sacramento, Chicago, Seattle, and especially Santa Barbara, where it made #1! The lack of distribution made the album extremely rare, even at the time. About 10 to 20 copies of the original LP are known to exist today.

Many of Bill Holmes’ All-American acts played concerts on July 18-19, 1969 at Kings Beach on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. On the first day, Birmingham Sunday was the opening act. However, the popularity of the band enabled Birmingham Sunday to close the second night’s show. Holmes had lost control of Strawberry Alarm Clock, so he had the replacement group Strawberry SAC play instead. Gary Solomon, the lyric writer of “Egocentric Solitude,” was in that band. Birmingham Sunday ruled the weekend event!

Birmingham Sunday played concerts throughout 1969, but they split up in 1970 due to a number of forces pulling band members in different directions. Joe LaChew and Monty Johns stayed in college to continue their education. Both Joe and Monty formed the college rock band Brother Rock with Ward Johns. This nine-piece horn band opened for concerts at the college, including shows by Cold Blood, Tower Of Power, The Sons Of Champlin, and most notably, Derek And The Dominoes.

Brother Rock did a recording for the Mercury label in San Francisco, but the tracks have been lost. While influenced by Chicago and The Sons Of Champlin, Brother Rock played original songs by Monty Johns and Joe LaChew.

Debbie Parke, Jean Heim, John Kvam and the Gustafson brothers joined well-known Nevada casino lounge singer Frankie Fanelli. They recorded an album with Fanelli before splitting with him in August 1970. The band members went into different directions:

Joe LaChew continued playing guitar with The Drifters, The Coasters, Billy Preston, The Righteous Brothers, Rose and Joe Maphis, Merle Travis, Dorsey Burnett, Jimmy Dickens, Zella Lehr (an RCA artist), Kathy O’Shea (for MCA) and comedian Rich Little. Joe is now a music teacher in Nevada and still plays shows in the Reno and Lake Tahoe areas. He still enjoys writing music and has done commercials, film music and solo albums. Joe still writes songs for the more recent Birmingham Sunday reunions. Two of those tracks, “Raw Rhythm” and “C’Est La Vie Blues,” are included here for the first time. The famous Birmingham Sunday parties continue to this day!

Debbie Parke became an elementary school teacher and counselor in Lewiston, Idaho. She is now retired. Phil Gustafson retired from the Nevada National Guard. John Kvam was a bartender and journeyman cabinet maker before his retirement. Jean Heim became a country musician and has also retired. Monty Johns is a doctor in West Virginia. Ward Johns was the Vice President of Missile Records. He passed away from compilations due to a stroke in December 2009. Dave Gustafson became a successful musician and very wealthy real estate agent. He passed in January 2010.
by Joe LaChew (Birmingham Sunday)

Photos related to the album/track :

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Album cover photo (front)

BIRMINGHAM SUNDAY A MESSAGE FROM (2)

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Album photo (A’ Side)

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Album photo (B’ Side)

Photos related to the band :

BIRMINGHAM SUNDAY 2 (2)

Links related to the album/track :

Birmingham Sunday – “Egocentric Solitude” Track’s Video on “YouTube”

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Full Album Video on “YouTube”

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Full Album Download Link on “Rockasteria” Blog

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Full Album Download Link on “60-70 Rock” Blog

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Full Album Audio Playlist on “Spotify”

Birmingham Sunday – “A Message From Birmingham Sunday” Full Album on “Napster”

Links related to the band :

Birmingham Sunday Band’s Page on “Discogs”

Birmingham Sunday Band’s Page on “Spotify”

Birmingham Sunday Band’s Page on “Napster”

 

Blues Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock U.S.A. 1970s (Tracks) Mountain – “Never In My Life”

Mountain – “Never In My Life” Video on YouTube 

Category/Music Genres :

Blues Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock U.S.A. 1970s (Tracks)

Band :

Mountain (Long Island, New York, U.S.A.)

Variations :

Mountain @ Q, Mountain 6, Mountin’

Track :

“Never In My Life” (written by Mountain) A3 track included on the album “Climbing!”

Also it was released as a A’ Side single on Bell Records (2008 067) in 1972

Mountain – “Never In My Life” A’ Side Single cover photo (front)

Image result for mountain never in my life

Album :

“Climbing” released on Windfall Records (WINDFALL 4501) on 7th March 1970

Climbing!, also known as Mountain Climbing!, is the official debut studio album by American blues rock band Mountain, released on March 7, 1970, by Windfall Records.

The album featured the ‘classic’ Mountain lineup of Leslie West (guitar, vocals), Felix Pappalardi (bass, vocals, piano), Corky Laing (drums, percussion) and Steve Knight (keyboards) and followed the West solo album Mountain featuring Pappalardi and drummer Norman Smart, released in 1969 and often credited to the band. Produced by Pappalardi, the album reached number 17 on the American Billboard 200 albums chart and featured the band’s best-known song, “Mississippi Queen”. An early rendition of “For Yasgur’s Farm” was actually performed at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969 as Who Am I But You And The Sun. It was subsequently recorded and retitled for the album.

Recorded at Record Plant Studios, New York, U.S.A.

Mountain – “Climbing!” Album cover photo (front)

MOUNTAIN - CLIMBING 1 (2)

Mountain – “Climbing!” Full Album Video on YouTube

Mountain – “Climbing!” Full Album Audio Playlist on Spotify

Line-up/Credits :

Band :

Leslie West – guitars on all tracks; lead vocals on tracks 1, 3, and 8; co-lead vocals on tracks 4, 5 and 9

Felix Pappalardi – bass on all tracks except 6 and 7; piano on tracks 1, 2 and 9; rhythm guitar on track 7; lead vocals on tracks 2 and 7; co-lead vocals on tracks 4, 5 and 9; production

Corky Laing – drums on all tracks except 6 and 7; percussion on tracks 7 and 9

Steve Knight – organ on tracks 2, 3, 4 and 5; mellotron on tracks 2 and 9; handbells on track 4

Additional Personnel :

Bud Prager – executive production

Bob D’Orleans – engineering

Lillian Douma – engineering assistance

Beverly Weinstein – art direction

Gail Collins – cover artwork, photography

Lacquer Cut By – RL (Bob Ludwig) (tracks: A1 to A4), LH (Lee Hulko)

Companies :

Lacquer Cut At – Sterling Sound

Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – △14532

Distributed By – Bell Records

 

Track-list :

01. Mississippi Queen (Leslie West, Corky Laing, Felix Pappalardi, David Rea) – 2:28
02. Theme For An Imaginary Western (Jack Bruce, Pete Brown) – 5:04
03. Never In My Life (West, Pappalardi, Gail Collins, Laing) – 3:48
04. Silver Paper (West, Pappalardi, Collins, George Gardos, Steve Knight, Laing) – 3:14
05. For Yasgur’s Farm (Gardos, Laing, Pappalardi, Collins, Gary Ship, Rea) – 3:20
06. To My Friend (West) – 3:37
07. The Laird (Pappalardi, Collins) – 4:34
08. Sittin’ On A Rainbow (Wesr, Laing, Collins) – 2:18
09. Boys In The Band (Pappalardi, Collins) – 3:33

Mountain – “Climbing” Album cover photo (back)/track-list photo

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING 2 (2).jpg

Lyrics :

Never in my life
Could i find a girl like you
Never in my life
Could i find a girl like you
When i wake up in the morning
You make me feel so good
Bringing me the cider whisky
Feel a bit lonely too
For the first time in my life
I finally found someone like you
For the first time in my life
I finally found someone like you
I feel like a bolt of lightning
But it feels so good
Knowin´ my baby´s waitin´
And of course i do
Hey hey hey
Never in my life
Could i find a girl like you
Never in my life
Could i find a girl like you
When i turned around to wake her
About the way she moves
I don´t want to leave her
But i wanta love you too

Information related to the album/band/track :

“Wikipedia”

Mountain was an American hard rock band from Long Island, New York. Formed in July 1969, the group originally consisted of guitarist and lead vocalist Leslie West, bassist and second vocalist Felix Pappalardi, drummer Norman “N. D.” Smart and keyboardist Steve Knight. Pappalardi and Smart had performed on West’s debut album Mountain earlier in the year (which was also produced by the bassist), and subsequently added Knight to complete the initial lineup of the band of the same name. Later in the year, Smart departed and was replaced by Canadian drummer Laurence “Corky” Laing. The group released three commercially successful albums – Climbing! in 1970, and Nantucket Sleighride and Flowers of Evil in 1971 – before breaking up in early 1972 due to increasing tensions between band members.

By mid-1973, West and Pappalardi had reformed Mountain with new members Allan Schwartzberg (drums) and Bob Mann (rhythm guitar, keyboards), who together released the live album Twin Peaks from their only concert tour. Laing later returned to the group and Mann was replaced by David Perry, with the new lineup’s first studio effort Avalanche released the following July. Mountain broke up for a second time after another tour, with its final show taking place on December 31, 1974. West subsequently embarked on a solo career, before reforming Mountain for a third time in 1981 with Laing on drums and Miller Anderson on bass. On April 17, 1983, founding member Pappalardi was killed by his wife and musical collaborator Gail Collins Pappalardi, in what was deemed to be an accidental shooting.

Mountain released Go for Your Life in 1985, which featured new bassist Mark Clarke. Shortly after its release and promotion, the group quietly disbanded again. West and Laing returned as Mountain in 1992, with new bassist Richie Scarlet. After changing personnel again by replacing Scarlet with Randy Coven and later Noel Redding, the group released its sixth studio album Man’s World in 1996 with a returning Clarke on bass. After another breakup in 1998, Mountain returned in 2001 to record Mystic Fire, which featured session bassist Chuck Hearne alongside West and Laing. For the subsequent touring cycle, Scarlet returned to the band. James “Rev” Jones took over in 2008. Mountain has not performed since late 2010, with West returning to his solo career and Laing forming a new group.

“All Music”

The breakup of Cream in late 1968 had consequences that rippled across the rock music world — in its wake were formed directly such bands as Blind Faith (whose tragedy was they never had a chance to actually become a band) and Ginger Baker’s Air Force, as well as the rich solo careers of members Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce. And it yielded — by way of Cream associate and producer Felix Pappalardi — something of a successor band in 1969, in the form of Mountain.

The band’s history all started with a Long Island-based psychedelic/garage band called the Vagrants, who’d acquired a serious local following and always seemed poised to break out, without ever actually doing so. Their lead guitarist, Leslie West, was a physically outsized figure as well as a musician extraordinaire whose playing had been completely transformed by his experience of hearing Clapton’s playing in Cream. The Vagrants and West first crossed paths with Pappalardi in 1968, when he saw their potential and got them signed to Atlantic Records, where he was working as a producer. He had already made a name for himself producing Cream’s Disraeli Gears album, and had played numerous background instruments on their follow-up, Wheels of Fire (and on the studio tracks that would form their Goodbye album). He did produce some of the best work that the Vagrants ever released, but none of it sold; and when West left the band in late 1968 to do a solo album, titled Mountain, Pappalardi produced it for him, as well as played keyboards and bass on the record. The results were the most impressive of West’s career up to that time, a solid, blues-based hard rock workout, showing off just how profoundly he incorporated Clapton’s playing into his own style — Mountain sounded a great deal like the now-disbanded Cream, and was satisfying enough for the two to form a partnership, also called Mountain. Their first lineup was built around the one used on the album, with N.D. Smart on drums, and Steve Knight added on keyboards, while Pappalardi concentrated on playing the bass. Following a debut performance at the Fillmore West in July 1969, the group played its fourth live performance ever at Woodstock, in front of an audience of several hundred thousand, on a bill with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and — also getting their first national exposure at the same festival — Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The event was an auspicious one, even though it was followed by a personnel shift, as Smart was replaced by Corky Laing, West’s oldest friend.

The group was signed to the Windfall label and released their debut LP, Mountain Climbing!, in the spring of 1970, accompanied by their debut single, “Mississippi Queen,” which reached number 21 in June of 1970. That chart placement doesn’t begin to delineate the impact of that single, a hard rock boogie that was a killer showcase for West’s guitar and an unlikely piece of Southern-fried rock & roll, coming from the pens of the Queens- and Brooklyn-born West and Pappalardi, and the Canadian-born Laing — it was as improbable as the California-born John Fogerty authoring “Born on the Bayou” or “Green River,” and almost as enduring in popular culture. The single may not have reached the Top 20, but the album it was on peaked at number 17, driven by listeners drawn to the single but wanting more from the band behind it, and the high-energy mix of hard rock and blues they generated. And the debut album offered some surprises, such as the quartet’s successful digression into progressive rock with “Theme from an Imaginary Western” (co-authored by Cream’s Jack Bruce, which only further emphasized the indirect connections and musical debt owed the other band). The latter got lots of play on FM radio, as did “Never in My Life.”

Equally important to the band’s fortunes, they were able to deliver on-stage what they promised on their records — indeed, their records were a surprisingly accurate representation of their actual sound, except that Mountain was even louder live than they were in the studio. The group scored another hit at the Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1970, alongside the Allman Brothers, Cactus. and others. Mountain’s second album, Nantucket Sleighride, was equally successful commercially and unveiled the title track, which would take on epic proportions in concert. Flowers of Evil followed in November of 1971, just ten months after its predecessor, and it began to clearly show the strain of the pace the band had been keeping up since July of 1969 — half of it consisted of lackluster studio originals, while the other half was a live medley and a concert version of “Mississippi Queen.” Lackluster sales and reviews were inevitable, and the impression of a band running on empty was reinforced by their next release, Mountain Live (The Road Goes Ever On) (1972), which had only four cuts on it, all of them characterized by extended solos. Hardcore fans appreciated the record as an extension of their recordings, but many listeners and most critics found it lacking musical cohesion.

The group broke up soon after the release of that album, due in part to Pappalardi’s concerns about his hearing, which been damaged by the high volume the band generated in concert. He returned to production, while West and Laing — staying close to their hard rock roots, as well as the orbit whence Pappalardi had come — teamed up with ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce as West, Bruce & Laing, a hard rock power trio that cut a brief but memorable swathe of their own across the musical landscape in the early/mid-’70s. Meanwhile, a Best of Mountain LP released in the wake of the breakup helped to sustain interest in the group. And later in 1973, Mountain was back together, West and Pappalardi reactivating the band with Bob Mann on keyboards and guitar and Allan Schwartzberg on drums for a tour of Japan. This resulted in the live double LP Twin Peaks (1974), a much better representation of the group’s concert sound, including a 32-minute version of “Nantucket Sleighride.” During 1974, in the wake of the second live album, West, Laing, and Pappalardi revived Mountain again to record a studio LP, Avalanche. In subsequent years, West and Laing revived the group for live shows, sometimes joined by Pappalardi; West also performed with his own Leslie West Band. Sadly, Pappalardi was shot and killed by his wife in 1983. Two years later, West and Laing regrouped with Mark Clarke on bass and recorded an album before once again calling it quits. Laing served as PolyGram’s A&R vice president in Canada between 1989 and 1995. In 1996, he reunited with West and Clarke for a new Mountain album, Man’s World. West and Laing teamed up again in 2002 for another album as Mountain, Mystic Fire.

“Ultimate Classic Rock”

In March 1970, a new band named Mountain delivered its debut album, the cheekily named Climbing!, and watched it quickly escalate into the Billboard Top 20 on the strength of the smash hit single and future classic rock staple, “Mississippi Queen.” Sounds simple, right? The story of Mountain’s quick ascension to mainstream fame is a little more complicated than that.

Mountain was actually named after the solo album released by singer and guitarist Leslie West, formerly of the Vagrants, in July 1969. This had been produced by bassist and talented arranger Felix Pappalardi, who had spent the previous years working in close cahoots with the world’s first rock supergroup, Cream.

Less than a month later, the newly rechristened group, rounded out by organist Steve Knight and drummer N.D. Smart, found themselves on stage at Woodstock and immediately transformed these and other relative unknowns into virtual household names. Keenly aware of their good fortune and perfect timing, West and Pappalardi quickly moved to capitalize by recruiting drummer Laurence “Corky” Laing and getting to work on the first proper Mountain album, the aforementioned Climbing!

This LP wound up straddling popular music’s transition from the ’60s to the ’70s like few contemporary releases: simultaneously carrying the torch for the Cream and Jimi Hendrix Experience-based power trios that had been so dominant in the dying decade and fully embracing the new one’s nascent hard rock developments.

“Theme for an Imaginary Western,” which had already been previewed at Woodstock, harked back to Pappalardi’s eclectic work with Cream (and was in fact co-written with Jack Bruce), as did the widescreen dramatics of “Boys in the Band” did too. “For Yasgur’s Farm” obviously paid tribute to the festival site and all the flower children that had attended, while “The Laird” saluted fast-fading psychedelia with its gentle whimsy and ringing sitars.

But remaining cuts like “Never in My Life,” “Silver Paper” and “Sittin’ on a Rainbow” found that space where British blues was violently being transfigured into what would soon be called “heavy metal.” Even West’s gorgeous solo acoustic piece, “To My Friend,” owed more to Led Zeppelin’s “Black Mountain Side” than the previous era’s neo-folk movement which had inspired it. And of course there was the aforementioned “Mississippi Queen,” which earned its signature cowbell intro only after multiple unsatisfactory takes forced Laing to count in his exhausted band mates, and came to signify everything Mountain ever was, or would be.

And, to complete the band’s self-sufficient mindset, cover artwork for the album was designed by Pappalardi’s wife, Gail Collins, who interestingly also received co-songwriting credits on six of the final nine songs selected (not a bad way to double one’s royalties). Sadly, it was Collins who shot and killed Pappalardi on April 17, 1983. She was eventually found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and served a little more than one year of jail time.

By then, Mountain and their legendary exploits at the very dawn of ’70s were but a distant, rose-tinted memory of the summer of love, and the band’s all-too-sudden fall from commercial grace after a string of solid, but never transcendent follow-up albums, all of which lacked the inspired spark heard on Climbing! Still for what it’s worth, the ensuing decades have also proven Mountain’s music — or at least the indestructible “Mississippi Queen” — to be as durable as any music captured during that specific time-period in rock.

“Goldmine Magazine”

By Jason Hillenburg

Bob Dylan once said that the ‘60s reminded him of a flying saucer landing – everybody heard about it, but only a handful ever saw it. Out of that handful who saw the decade up close, few had the view of the musicians who played the 1969 Woodstock Festival. The festival, long since pinned like a museum butterfly under history’s glass, misfired for some and cemented the reputations of others. The performance of Crosby, Stills & Nash marked only their second public appearance. Other bands such as The Grateful Dead still talk about how dissatisfied they were with their performance, while the great Alvin Lee and Ten Years After enjoyed, particularly after the concert film’s release, a considerable boost in popularity. Most famously, Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” filled more pages in the guitar great’s growing legend and lingers in public consciousness as the event’s defining moment. 

Treading the boards in Max Yasgur’s field transformed Mountain’s career as well. The band’s close to classic lineup, sans soon-to-be-enlisted drummer Corky Laing, ripped through a set largely culled from guitarist Leslie West’s recently released solo album entitled “Mountain.” The wide-eyed, expressive and impressively built West manned center stage as if the fates conspired to place him there at that moment and time, while former Cream producer Felix Pappalardi stood semi-shadowed to his right unleashing furious bass runs in accompaniment. It is little stretch to say the massive crowd heard nothing quite like this before.

It wasn’t the overpowering bluster or blues histrionics of West’s guitar. By 1969, Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience spawned a host of imitators and influenced countless others to carry on their groundbreaking work to its logical conclusion. However, the public had yet to hear a guitarist capable of uniting accessibility, melody, power, fluent vibrato, and strong rhythm playing into one package. His imposing frame juxtaposed against the small size of his Les Paul Junior along with his surprisingly soulful and muscular vocals completed the picture. His torrid performances on “Beside the Sea” and “Southbound Train” impressed many and didn’t go unnoticed by record executives.

Mountain formed, in significant part, as a vehicle to highlight West’s talents. The July, 1969 release of his first solo album laid down a rough template of the band’s sound, but transitioning from a solo act into a band necessitated changes. Pappalardi, sensitive to musical similarities between Cream and the new band, recruited keyboardist Steve Knight over West’s objections to play organ and fill out their sound. West, an enormous admirer of Clapton’s stint with Cream, shrugged off potential comparisons. Such maneuvers, however, certainly insulated the band from such charges and provided a textural counterpoint for West’s guitar that recalled other emerging bands such as Vanilla Fudge and Deep Purple far more. Knight’s formal approach and reluctant musical improvisation further rankled West’s attitude towards the keyboardist, but the jazz devotee brought considerable chops to bear that few then-prominent keyboardists could claim.    

Switching drummers didn’t impede their ascent. West and Pappalardi grew quickly disenchanted with drummer N.D. Smart’s musical suitability and Pappalardi recommended Canadian-born New York City transplant Laing as his replacement. The new drummer came to Pappalardi’s notice after the latter produced the debut for Laing’s then-current band Energy. The addition of Laing brought Mountain a versatile and physical percussionist unafraid to expand his style. And, perhaps even more crucially, Laing proved to be another songwriter to add to the mix.

One of the earliest dividends from Laing’s membership, “Mississippi Queen,” is arguably the band’s defining work. The story about its genesis has long since passed into rock ‘n’ roll lore, but the track’s gloriously electrified raunch and West’s revival preacher vocals has long obscured its cultural significance. “Mississippi Queen” occupies a significant place in the Great American Songbook for a few reasons, but one of the most important is how it illustrates the breathtaking pace of musical and cross-cultural assimilation underway in the late 1960s. It’s nothing short of indelibly American that a professionally trained musician, composer and University of Michigan graduate, teamed with a gifted, but raw and self-taught, New York City rock ‘n’ roller, a Canadian drummer with a potpourri of musical influences, and a jazz pianist playing keyboards, to record a song that, stripped of its modern gloss and volume, sounds straight out of a Clarksdale juke joint on a Saturday night.

However, the song came with a heavy price tag and opened the first of many fissures in the band’s personal relationships. West recalled in a late 1970’s interview with Jas Obrecht that Pappalardi “… threw it out one day. He didn’t like it. Then he put his name on it the next time because he snuck a little note in here and there. You know what he stuck in there? That little Steve Knight piano part … and he took 25% of that song. Felix is a legend in his spare time.”

Mountain wisely opened their studio debut, “Climbing!,” with the song, but the remaining eight tracks solidified their artistic vision. The album took just 10 days to record, but many of its songs entered the band’s live set immediately and remained there for the duration of the band’s life. The muscular and compelling riff dominating “Never in My Life” earned West the respect of peers including Hendrix. West told Obrecht that “… when we were doing ‘Climbing,’ Jimi was the first one to hear it finished … he came in when we’d finished mixing and … you know ‘Never in My Life’, he loved that little stop in there … I thought it was great! I said, ‘Wow! J.H. Oh man.’”

“Theme for an Imaginary Western”, written by Cream bassist Jack Bruce and lyricist Pete Brown, evolved into a West showcase over the years, but illustrates the band’s sometimes screwy logic. One cannot help but wonder why, if Pappalardi felt it important to distance the band from Cream comparisons, they chose to include a major composition from Cream’s two primary songwriters. The obvious answer is two-fold. “Theme for an Imaginary Western” is widely recognized, 40-plus years on, as one of the best songs to emerge from Bruce and Brown’s songwriting partnership. Its unique cinematic scope, open-ended structure and dramatic orchestration retain considerable appeal to this day. Lastly, any recording artist, no matter the purity of their commitment, can weigh commercial considerations without weakening their credibility. Straddling those elements without ever losing balance is difficult, but selecting this cut for their debut ultimately makes eminent sense. The song’s aforementioned merits provided an ideal forum for the band to exhibit their own while gleaning some reflected glory from an esteemed predecessor.

The heavy pop leanings of “Silver Paper” and dreamy, light psychedelia of “The Laird” are Pappalardi-driven confections that moved Mountain further away from unwanted comparisons. His smooth vocals lacked West’s stage-rattling gravitas, but ached in a way West could not and offered listeners a lighter shade in Mountain’s palette. Laing’s second important contribution, the salutatory “For Yasgur’s Farm”, featured West’s ravaged soul singing at its youthful best. His underappreciated vocals wring every drop of drama and emotion out of the lyric and find an ideal match in the dynamic arrangement. “Climbing!” stands as fine of a debut from anyone in the time period and much of its enduring value flows from its musicianship and nearly flawless balance.

By the end of the new lineup’s first year together, Mountain played 132 confirmed  shows, many more undoubtedly lost in time, and recorded a quintessential debut. They shared stages with acts as diverse as Sly and the Family Stone, Jethro Tull, Country Joe McDonald, Van Morrison and Bloodrock while crisscrossing the country via Learjet to the tune of $600 dollars a hour. They performed on the main stage of the Atlanta International Pop Festival in July 1970 and provided one of the event’s highlights with a spellbinding rendition of the blues standard “Stormy Monday”. While the Woodstock performance might have made overnight stars of some acts, Santana and Ten Years After for instance, hindsight reveals that Mountain’s experience differs. It’s more accurate to understand Woodstock in the band’s history by seeing it as the inciting incident of a swift, stratospheric ascent. While others would disembark from the ride before terminal velocity set in, the band’s lynchpins would soon realize, in various ways, how they lacked parachutes. 

The peak likely arrived with the recording and release of the band’s second album, “Nantucket Sleighride”. “Don’t Look Around” blasted the album wide open with an incendiary West performance on guitar and vocals, but the album’s indisputable heart follows with the brief instrumental “Taunta (Sammy’s Tune)” segueing into the title track. “Nantucket Sleighride (To Owen Coffin)” is one part Child Ballad crossed with neo-classical influences, rock theatrics and a memorable melody. The song represented the band’s meatiest musical accomplishment and proved them capable of stretching compositionally.

However, one can argue that the sophomore effort represented a step back from the daring debut. The nine songs focus far more on West’s guitar than the first album and the aforementioned instrumental and title track are the only meaningful nods to softer textures. There’s a valid point that “Nantucket Sleighride” better incorporates West’s guitar with Pappalardi’s creative impulse — where West’s guitar once sat uneasily inside compositions like “The Laird” from “Climbing!”, it now reinforced and fleshed out mock-symphonic works like “Travelin’ in the Dark.” Mountain featured the latter track, written by Pappalardi and his wife Gail Collins, on the subsequent tour and live documents attest to its dramatic power, but the song predated the band by some years. Bo Grumpus, a folk/psychedelic outfit, included the track on their 1968 Pappalardi produced album “Before the War,” but this little noticed unit could scarcely match the almost Baroque fury that West and company summoned.

The song’s inclusion, in retrospect, hinted at future problems for the band. As the band’s stature skyrocketed, the advances and payoffs increased and personal habits once reined in by resources spiraled further out of control. West later remarked that Pappalardi, by this point, “… didn’t want to do anything but get out of the house, get in the car, get on a plane, get in a car, do the gig, and go back, get on a plane, and go home.” Talent never deserted them, but discipline waned under a tidal wave of extravagance and excess. The November 1971 release of the band’s third album, “Flowers of Evil,” marked the final studio offering from the West/Pappalardi/Knight/Laing lineup and marked a band still playing very well, but sliding into full creative flounder. Many bands toyed with the split album concept, one side studio and the other live, during the era hoping to replicate the success of Cream’s seminal “Wheels of Fire,” but Mountain’s release suggests a stopgap measure for an exhausted unit and artistic disarray. It’s apparent the songwriting process had broken down to some extent as the album features only four new songs with only the title cut constituting any substantial contribution to the band’s discography. “Crossroader” has its share of fans and continues to enjoy an inexplicably long life in legacy reissues for a song that, unquestionably, ranks as one of the band’s least original blues rockers. Despite the song seeming tailor-made for West’s bluesy yowl, Pappalardi sings “Crossroader” and it highlights another telltale sign of the band’s internal discord. Pappalardi dominates the vocals on the band’s new material while West takes the title track and the older material on the live side. The bulk of the new material focused on classically influenced Pappalardi pop with West’s guitar demoted to a secondary role. Balance deserted them.

The live side is further evidence of its absence. Excepting the scorched earth version of “Dreams of Milk and Honey” that redeems everything surrounding it, uninspiring workouts on “Roll Over Beethoven” and high volume West meandering doesn’t add up to a sustained, coherent live statement. One of the final strikes comes in the arbitrary structure imposed on the live side in a vain effort to apply some veneer of importance. Mountain strings together the “Guitar Solo/Roll Over Beethoven/Dreams of Milk and Honey/Variations/Swan Theme” medley into one track vaguely entitled “Dream Sequence,” but since none of the aforementioned pieces bears even the faintest connection in listening, one must assume the band hoped no one was really paying attention or cared. An unremarkable take on “Mississippi Queen” concluded the album.

No one outside the band knew it, but the first of many ends loomed. After an early 1972 English run, the band announced its breakup. They floated many reasons for the split, but chief among them was Pappalardi’s insistence that the band’s extensive and high volume live work badly damaged his hearing. West and Laing have repeatedly discredited such stories over the years claiming, instead, that the band’s drug and personal problems crashed everything.

It wasn’t Pappalardi alone. While Knight abandoned rock music entirely and returned to his true love, jazz, West and Laing soon decamped to England to rehearse with Bruce for a new super group named West, Bruce and Laing. It heralded the start of a brief, but enormously profitable, partnership between the three musicians resulting in two studio albums and a live album. Unfortunately, the men’s drug addictions stymied the band’s potential and precipitated another fracture less than two years after their formation.

Perhaps in a later, more jaded time, Pappalardi approaching West in 1973 to reform Mountain for a series of Japanese dates wouldn’t be so surprising. There seemed to be an air of finality in the public perception regarding the band’s 1972 split, a sense that the band exhausted itself, so the announcement that they had reformed generated considerable attention. The reformation came off without Laing on drums thanks to conflicts between Felix, Corky, and Pappalardi’s influential wife. In his stead, Pappalardi recruited drummer Allan Schwartzberg and rhythm guitarist, keyboardist Bob Mann to help fill out the sound. West, enticed by the payday and prospect of touring Japan, reluctantly agreed. He later commented to Obrecht that everything “… was ridiculous. It was just more old songs. I wanted to do new stuff, badly. What happened was Felix told me, ‘If we go to Japan, we’re gonna put out a live album over there.’” The resulting live album, “Twin Peaks,” ranks as a memorable but bloated document of the time.

Despite West later dismissing the release as a cash-in on the Japanese tour, the album has its admirers. Even a cursory listen reveals why. Despite the performances lacking any genuine spark of inspiration, the band’s professionalism and innate talent helped stop offstage problems from bleeding over onstage. However, one can hear flashes of a band doing more than merely hitting their marks on stalwarts such as “Blood of the Sun,” “Never in My Life” and “Theme for an Imaginary Western.” The first of these, in particular, excels thanks to West’s fiery vocal and the added heft gained from employing a second guitarist.

“Twin Peaks” has its detractors and they have valid points. It’s possible to blame the stupefying self-indulgence of a 30-plus minute “Nantucket Sleighride” on the style of the times or drug-fueled decision-making, but it suggests something darker. It stands as bloated evidence for the band’s artistic decline. The Japanese tour debuted no new material, Pappalardi pushing Laing out for personal reasons while bringing in a second guitarist can be viewed as an attempt to dilute West’s influence over the music, and a nearly album-length version of a signature track are exclamation points on the band’s creative bankruptcy. They had nothing left to say.

However, they soldiered on. The Japanese shows stoked Pappalardi’s desire for more, albeit temporarily, but West balked at further touring unless Laing returned as the band’s drummer. Pappalardi assented, but the band retained its newly minted two-guitar configuration when David Perry replaced Mann. The band hit the road for a North American tour in November of 1973 and, with only one significant break in early 1974, didn’t stop until September of that year.

The band released “Avalanche,” the first full studio album since “Nantucket Sleighride,” in July of 1974. A retrospectively appropriate title considering the band’s accumulating problems, it marked Pappalardi’s final studio outing with the band and a partial return to form. It doesn’t open auspiciously. Another workout on golden oldie chestnut “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” blusters with sound and fury while ultimately signifying nothing, but some interesting rough diamonds emerged from the band’s failing creative process,  “Sister Justice” and West’s guitar showcase “Alisan,” for example. The album’s bulk, however, focuses on pedestrian rockers like “You Better Believe It” and derivative, uninspired fare such as “Thumbsucker,” a one-joke “Crossroader” rewrite with another inexplicable Pappalardi vocal, and the self-conscious “Swamp Boy.” The pivotal moment of “Avalanche” arrived midway through Side One with West’s vivid, scorched earth re-imagining of “Satisfaction” that ranks among the best Rolling Stones covers.

Following the end of the “Avalanche” tour, Pappalardi wanted out again. West ascribed the breakup to a combination of “… drugs, attitude, attitude because of the drugs, old ladies — all the usual sh*t.” However, the band reconvened as a three piece for the first time and launched a final run October of 1974 that lasted a little under 30 shows. This “farewell” jaunt wrapped up with two New Year’s Eve sets at the Big Apple’s Felt Forum. Mountain fell silent until the early 1980’s.

Pappalardi transitioned into a sort of semi-retirement and emerged primarily to produce albums for singer/songwriter Jesse Colin Young, Hot Tuna and Natural Gas, among others. Laing guested on a number of projects and released his only solo album, the neglected gem “Making It on the Street,” in 1977. West, on the other hand, reportedly earned serious consideration from The Rolling Stones as Mick Taylor’s replacement and released two solid, if not occasionally spectacular, solo albums, 1975’s “The Great Fatsby” and 1976’s “The Leslie West Band.”

Both albums failed to score commercially and, by the late 1970s, West dropped out of sight. Dogged by drug addiction, bad business deals and a downturn in fortunes, West sidelined himself and questioned his desire to continue playing. He fled New York for the unlikely surroundings of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. West told Obrecht that his “… partner and manager has a men and women’s beauty salon there. We had our offices moved out there because New York was so crazy. I want to get out of New York — the drug scene, the whole music scene, everything.”

Hearing Eddie Van Halen’s early work with Van Halen changed much for West. The two men struck up a perhaps unlikely friendship that inspired West to focus on music once again. If you ask the principles about Mountain’s fledgling early 80s reformation, you’ll hear conflicting stories. Elektra reportedly offered the band two million for two albums over the same period in the late 1970s, but the landscape changed by the early 1980s. Any guitar rock besides heavy metal enjoyed little commercial cachet and the spate of big reunions characterizing the scene in the mid-late 1980s hadn’t yet arrived. By all accounts, West found himself back at square one — advertising himself as Mountain and drafting unknown or local musicians to round out the lineup as he had in the band’s earliest, pre-“Climbing!” iterations. Pappalardi and Laing naturally objected when they learned, but rather than fighting West, Laing opted to join him. The two men froze Pappalardi out, previewing a potential legal struggle between the duo and their one-time mentor, added one-time Keef Hartley vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Miller Anderson on bass, and began touring as Mountain.

Everything changed in April of 1983. The marriage between Pappalardi and wife Gail Collins survived the tumult of the 1960s and ‘70s, but by the turn of a new decade, years of tension frayed the couple’s once impressively solid bond. Pappalardi had reputedly fallen in love with a younger woman and rumors flew of an impending divorce. Collins shot and killed Pappalardi with a pistol he recently purchased for her. Collins claimed the death was accidental and, despite significant evidence and the opinions of those close to Pappalardi that she murdered him in a jealous rage, Collins served just a brief prison term after conviction for criminally negligent homicide and subsequently disappeared from public view. She lived as an expat recluse in Mexico and died in 2013.

Mountain without Pappalardi posed real credibility problems. A popular perception existed among the critical elite dating as far back as the band’s origins and lampooned in the band’s song “The Animal Trainer and the Toad,” that Pappalardi reigned as the group’s only significant talent, a Svengali-type producer employing two dumbed-down rockers capable of crudely aping Cream and little else. These fanciful judgments lingered into the 1980s despite a plethora of musical evidence for West’s prodigious imagination. In addition to the strengths discussed near the article’s beginning, the intervening years saw his interpretative powers grow. He wasn’t content to learn one lick and repackage it continuously. Reinvention defines West’s, and, by extension, Mountain’s second acts. Passion and bravery carried the band and its guitarist far in life, but the next two decades tested it again.

The band soon secured a new recording deal with Scotti Bros. Records, but circumstances beyond their control forced Anderson to bow out before actual recording began. West and Laing quickly hired former Colosseum and Uriah Heep bassist/vocalist Mark Clarke. When asked how he joined the band, Clarke said West “just thought he could get me cheap and he did.”

Clarke’s scathing assessment undercuts his musical merits. While Clarke never claimed membership in high-profile vehicles peers such as John Entwistle, Jack Bruce and Chris Squire rode to stardom, the Liverpool native proved an important and tragically underrated cog in a handful of influential acts. His strong singing and ability to reel off the big bass licks integral to Mountain’s back catalog made him an obvious candidate to fill Pappalardi’s slot.

One listen to 1985’s “Go for Your Life” illustrates they hired Clarke primarily for his live contributions. He’s virtually faceless on Mountain’s wildly uneven studio return. Instead of giving the bass its customarily busy role in the music, the style of the time demanded hemming in the bass and narrowly defining its role. Any real discussion of the changes in Mountain’s music, however, begins with the addition of keyboards.

The story of legacy acts in the 1980s is, more often than not, a tale of one-time trendsetters transforming into followers. Insecurities, commercial pressures and dreams of renewed pop stardom drove many acts to abandon or refurbish their musical vision. Mountain’s music, at its finest, is an organic and feral experience. Dry sheets of sterile keyboard color are tricks of the ear and only a select few enjoyed any consistent success mixing rock music with the then dawning digital sounds of the ‘80s.

Keyboards work on the infectiously catchy “Spark,” but elsewhere show the aforementioned style clash. The dated production, particularly the pervasive abuse of reverb and echo, affects this recording more than anything else in the band’s discography does. There’s the core of a good Mountain album here, but finding it requires sifting through the debris. The band released “Hard Times” as the first single, with a stereotypically bizarre mid-’80s video, and it’s easy to hear why. It’s much more commercially minded fare than the band offered in their salad days, but West’s riff, an enthusiastic vocal, and a big chorus are memorable. “Spark” is pure pop rock, but its surging vitality is difficult to dislike. The album has some real clunkers in “She Loves Her Rock (And She Loves It Hard),” “I Love Young Girls,” and “Babe in the Woods” that wouldn’t have earned consideration from the band’s previous incarnations, but “Bardot Damage” and “Shimmy on the Footlights” are serviceable. The album’s real gem, tucked at the very end, is a short solo performance from West called “Little Bit of Insanity.” Later described as a tribute to Pappalardi, the intimacy of West’s beautifully lyrical electric guitar carries a gravitas that the rest of the album lacks.

The band toured the United States in support of the album, but focused most of their live work on Europe. Mountain opened for Deep Purple during the first European leg of the latter’s triumphant 1985 reunion tour and played to massive audiences throughout continental Europe. Live recordings and bootlegs from the tour clearly show that, despite the fans embracing the band’s return, old conflicts had resurfaced. West and Laing were frequently combative onstage, often arguing or else throwing items at one another. Sometimes it was in jest; other times not.

Clarke commented on West and Laing’s relationship saying that the guitarist treated the band’s longtime drummer terribly. However, Laing gave as good as he got thanks to testimony from countless concert goers, particularly from the ‘85 European run, who still recall Laing smacking West with his well-aimed drum stick and cymbal hurls. It wasn’t total onstage chaos as the band showed flashes of a newfound humor when they began wheeling in an enormous cowbell for renditions of “Mississippi Queen” and often came close to striking upon a nimbler approximation of the band’s classic sound than anyone could have expected.

However, playing only two full songs from the new album and tossing “Little Bit of Insanity” into extended instrumental bits showed a band with no confidence in their new material. Complicating matters were the uneven live performances that saw West’s interest wax and wane over the gig’s duration. Disagreements about management saw the name go moribund again following the tour’s conclusion and West released solo albums for the remainder of the decade that garnered some press, but sold poorly. Laing resurfaced in a new role as record company A&R man, but the name resurfaced in the public consciousness once again in 1992 when West and Laing made a memorable appearance on Dennis Miller’s short-lived late night talk show. Longtime Ace Frehley collaborator, guitarist and songwriter Richie Scarlet manned the bass while West, noticeably thinner, and Laing tore through an extended performance of “Mississippi Queen” that sounded like they wrote the song 15 minutes before.

West and Laing went on to assemble another short-lived incarnation featuring former Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Noel Redding. However, despite a number of live shows demonstrating the new lineup’s promise and a couple of new studio tracks featured on a then recent retrospective entitled “Over the Top,” the band’s latest version soon folded thanks to personality conflicts between West and Redding. The band turned to Clarke again following this episode and a new album, “Man’s World,” emerged in 1996. While far closer in spirit to the band’s initial incarnation than the largely woeful “Go for Your Life,” the new collection centered on the title song’s memorable cover of the James Brown classic, a clever and blistering rocker “Crest of the Slump,” and the unexpected gem “I Look,” sung by producer and co-writer Eddie Black. Unfortunately, the songwriting isn’t entirely on target as imitation AC/DC-like “Nobody Gonna Steal My Thunder,” the pedestrian “So Fine” and “In Your Face” weigh things down with commercial missteps and clichéd filler.   

West alternated between solo outings and successful European tours with the album’s lineup during the second half of the 1990s, but a new studio album didn’t emerge until after the dawn of the new century. In 2002, “Mystic Fire” attested to how important the European market had become for Mountain — the financing for it came from Europe and it was written and recorded with the intent of helping the band promotionally in that region. The original title, “Mountain High,” only changed for the American release.

While there are still glaring songwriting weaknesses, few can argue that the album doesn’t still stand as one of the singular post-reunion achievements. Scarlet joins the band on bass and, despite his lack of flashiness, establishes an audible musical rapport with Laing. Their cover of Clutch’s “Immortal,” itself a revised version of Mountain’s “Baby, I’m Down,” kicks things off in spectacular fashion and the remaining strong points, namely the title track, another cover of the blues standard “Fever,” and the crushing “Mutant X” swagger with a confidence Mountain fans haven’t heard since “Avalanche.” The presence of four covers and two new versions of older material, however, clearly point the band’s struggle writing new material.

The band toured extensively in Europe and the United States promoting the new album. West continued recording new solo material during this time period while Laing wrote and recorded two albums under the name Cork with former Spin Doctors guitarist Eric Schenkman. The band reconvened for their likely final studio album, “Masters of War”, and released it in 2007. This collection of Bob Dylan covers, Mountain-ized with enormous guitars and a rhythm section, primarily centered on Laing with alternating bassists. Guests appeared on a Mountain album, en masse, for the first time as Ozzy Osbourne turned in a memorable vocal on the title track, Gov’t Mule’s guitarist Warren Haynes lent his bluesy fire to “Gotta Serve Somebody” and respected bassist Kenny Aaronson joined on five tracks. The album received positive notice and the band launched another round of touring to promote the effort.

West’s later health struggles, resulting in a leg amputation, ended any chance of the band building on their recent impressive run. West has sounded disenchanted with the idea of reconstituting the band since his recovery and asserts there’s little gained from it with Pappalardi’s absence and the recent passing of original keyboardist Knight. Both West and Laing have continued to work, producing new and high quality material, suggesting that, while the road for Mountain does not go ever on, the individual stories of its surviving members are far from over.

“Guitars Exchange”

In the early ‘70s, the transition of rock as a form of expression towards the mass market entertainment industry swept aside in its wake a large number of musical pioneers – pioneers such as Mountain, the missing link to heavy metal’s beginnings, among others. The rock behind the mountain is none other than Leslie West, one of history’s most influential guitarists who the gods have only looked down kindly upon the one time, when he was courting a certain queen from Mississippi. Having recently turned 71 (born in October 1945), his biography may not take up that much space in the encyclopaedias, but that great song can still often be heard on the radio. Maybe his mistake was arriving at the right place, but at the wrong time in the history of rock.

Climbing! 
Mountain’s debut album in 1970, was in fact the ex-guitarist of The Vagrants’ second record, with whom he had already made a name for himself – both for his imposing frame and his unusual technique. He recorded his first album, a sublime slice of blues, by himself – tracks which convinced record producer Felix Pappalardithat this giant of a man was the perfect candidate to take over from Cream, another of his creations. It wasn’t long before a contract with Atlantic Records was laid on the table to be signed.

Back then, Clapton was god and West was set on sounding like him, exactly like him. This was going to be a dream come true for the 25-year-old New Yorker. To keep him company, Pappalardi had brought in Steve Knight on the keyboards and Laurence ‘Corky’ Laing on drums. Before he knew what had hit him, West found himself up on stage at Woodstock and about to become legend.

He took full advantage of the opportunity handed to him and surprised all and sundry with a record that didn’t just follow in the stellar path of the legendary trio, but was much grittier. That said, Pappalardi ensured that a piece by Jack Bruce was on there, even though it wasn’t one of the composer’s best efforts. The one-hit-wonder that Mississippi Queen would prove to be aside, songs such as Never in My Life (very popular back then), with their heavy, hypnotic riffs, were the early signs of hard rock’s coming of age. On Side B, back when you had to turn a record over and that pause in the proceedings actually mattered (not like with today’s CDs and USBs), the psychedelic hues present were more along the lines of progressive rock. At times it’s quite impossible to not think of Rush.

Apart from the elaborate and perfectionist work of West, also of note is the music played by Knight on the piano in Boys in the Band – almost the only chance that the keyboard player got to shine in an album ruled by West’s Gibson Les Paul Jr., a guitar that he is famous for, along with the Electra Plexiglass that he used to fool around with during his early concerts.

However, the hidden gem that can be found in Climbing! is the acoustic beauty, To My Friend, and the only song that West wrote entirely on his own. A fine example of just how well this maestro of the six strings can play.

Photos related to the album/track :

Mountain – “Climbing!” Album cover photo (front)

MOUNTAIN - CLIMBING 1 (2)

Mountain – “Climbing!” Album cover photo (back)

MOUNTAIN - CLIMBING 2 (2).jpg

Mountain – “Climbing!” Album  photo (A’ Side)

Image result for mountain climbing 1970

Photos related to the band :

Image result for mountain mississippi queen

Image result for mountain band climbing 1970 album

Image result for felix pappalardi and gail collins

Image result for mountain band leslie west

Links related to the album/track :

Mountain – “Never In My Life” Video on “YouTube”

Mountain – “Climbing!” Full Album Video on “YouTube”

Mountain – “Climbing!” Full Album on “Apple Music”

Mountain – “Climbing!” Full Album on “Google Play”

Mountain – “Climbing!” Full Album Download Link on “60-70 Rock” Blog

Mountain – “Climbing!” Full Album Download Link on “Gray Pianos Flying” Blog

Mountain – “Climbing!” Full Album Download Link on “Discos Fundamentais” Blog

Links related to the band :

Mountain Band’s Page on Discogs