Climbing! – Mountain
Alright folks, here’s a CD I purchased a while ago but never really listened to. To those unfamiliar with Mountain, they are the authors of “Mississippi Queen,” a song that is featured on the album being reviewed, the debut album released after their appearance at Woodstock in 1969. The distorted sounds and rocky-bluesish vocals give the album a very unique charm, along with the additional instruments, like a keyboard which can be heard in a few of the songs. This band is attributed as being a heavy metal band, and considering the context of 1970, this is most definitely true.
The first song is their well-known hit, “Mississippi Queen”. The immediate heavy sounds clue you in to an album that is, in general, pretty rockin’. The second song, “Theme for an Imaginary Western,” however, is quite mellow given the buildup from the first track. The rest of the album barrels into some more hard rock with some very strong bluesy undertones. The vocalist, Leslie West, brings a sound that is almost Clapton-esqe, especially in the fifth song, “For Yasgur’s Farm,” which gives the bluesy sound some familiarity, but still enough difference to be very enjoyable.
The instrumentals on this album are also done very well, as can be heard in “To My Friend.” The twelve-string acoustic really lends to the overall full sound of the song, and the buildup about a quarter way through is masterfully done. There are some classical undertones here, but an overall folkish-blues sound dominates, which is very nice on the ears. The tone of the song reminds me of a mountain hike I had during Thanksgiving break. So, well done, Mountain.
My personal favorite on this album is “Sittin’ on a Rainbow.” The double-beat on the drums lends to the heavy sound on this song, but it is not over-done, and the vocals seem to explode and implode all at the same time. The guitar work is done well, with the usual distortion and solos that Clapton would approve of.
Climbing! is generally a well-done album, with some sound of folk strewn about a mostly bluesy, heavy rock album. I was hesitant about listening to this album at first, mostly because I had no idea what to expect, based on “Mississippi Queen.” However, the rest of the record takes what’s good about that song, and then some, and expands on it.
I give this album a Hell Yeah/10.