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Leslie West Leslie West
Album: Mountain
Label: Repertoire
Tracks: 11

Let's step back to the lazy hazy days of 1969, Eric Clapton and Cream are tearing up pavements in the UK.

On the other side of the Atlantic, a guitarist in New York teams up with Felix Pappalardi - he produced Disraeli Gears - on bass and releases his debut album.

Mountain is heavily influenced by Cream's output and it is no surprise to find out West was a hug fan.

West went on to form Mountain - one of the best hard rock bands to come out of the States.

So this opening blast of rock is very interesting to listen to after all these years. Thankfully we can do this because of a re-issue from the team at Repertoire Records.

This is a 2016 remaster and sounds simply stunning. Guitar, bass and drums in its rawest form.

Bizarrely one of the tracks, Long Red, has been responsible for six platinum albums for West as it has been sampled by countless hip-hop artists since its release.

In the excellent liner notes, West says hip-hop hadn't been invented when he wrote it - but it does have a hip-hop beat.

This Wheel's On Fire - a hit for Julie Driscoll - was written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko and it is included here - and it surely burns!

Several tracks include organ and there is some light and shade including the final acoustic track, Because You Are My Friend, but overall this is a rock guitar player's delight - two superb musicians on guitar and bass thumping it out. Recommended.

John Knighton