Thursday, December 31, 2020

The King of the Mountain: Sunset West

We've at last arrived at the climax of this unprecedented year, and at the top of the mountain we find, well, the Mountain.

Sadly, it has to be an In Memoriam, for The King of the Mountain left us just a few days ago, after a massive heart attack at age 75.

People are always asking about the tone of Leslie West, and how he got those magical, instantly-recognizable sounds no one else could.

If I had to solve the riddle, it'd come down to the tiny Les Paul Junior in those big, meaty hands. The small guitar and the big guy.

There are ten million flashier, more technically adept players than he, but none where you can know it's them by a note or a single phrase.

Those notes and phrases seemed to flow effortlessly from him over the course of a 50-year run atop Axemaster Peak.

Of course he was in a bunch of groups, but his signature project would have to be Mountain.

And in terms of signature live performances with them, perhaps the cream of the crop is this, an unissued live record from their run of shows at the Fillmore in NYC at the end of 1970, exactly 50 years ago.

Fillmore East
New York City, New York USA
12.30+31.1970 & 1.1.1971

01 Never In My Life 
02 Don't Look Around
03 Baby I'm Down
04 The Animal Trainer and the Toad
05 Nantucket Sleighride
06 Long Red
07 Blood of the Sun 
08 For Yasgur's Farm
09 Travellin' In the Dark
10 Dreams of Milk and Honey
11 Leslie West guitar solo 
12 Auld Lang Syne
13 Silver Paper
14 Mississippi Queen

Total time: 1:38:56
disc break goes after Track 09

Leslie West - guitar & vocals
Felix Pappalardi - bass & vocals
Steve Knight - organ
Corky Laing - drums

unreleased live album, likely recorded by a mobile truck
remastered in 2013 by Graeme Pattingale and slightly more remastered by EN, December 2020
511 MB FLAC here

This came to me pretty much ready, but I sprinkled a little bit more Fairy Dust on it to get it brightened up for its Golden anniversary celebration.

So that's it, eh? 366 days of unheard-of madness, hopefully supported by lots more unheard madness of the archival variety. I'd have done more, if I'd have had a computer for the months I wasn't around.

Fitting, to close it out with this monster anniversarized set from a truly gargantuan guitar god, gone but never forgotten in the days of Auld Lang Syne. Cheers! Thanks to Leslie West for the music, thanks to you for being here, stay safe and see you soon!--J.

10.22.1945 - 12.22.2020

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