Voice Print Records
Here’s a real cornerstone for any classic rock collection. Leslie West formed half of the creative heart of Mountain, one of the super groups of the ’70s. Mountain holds the record for the longest piece of music ever put on vinyl, the 45-minute long, double-sided “Nantucket Sleigh Ride.” Brilliantly conceived, it required you to get up and flip it half way through the song. Excess like that seems to be missing today.
A few years ago, West’s co-artist Felix Pappalardi died, and Mr. West inherited the band’s name and took it on tour, which subsequently resulted in a disappointing live disc. Fortunately, this set comes off MUCH better. Leslie West possesses the gravelly voice of a blues singer and the finger fire of a metal guitar player. He applies both to this set of broad covers (including Mountain’s “Theme from an Imaginary Western”). “Born To Be Wild,” Steppenwolf’s biker anthem, takes highest marks for its spooky arrangement and electrified guitar solos. On the weird side, we find “Cross Cut Blues.” Now, a good blues song ought to be filled with thinly veiled references to sex, but when the singer compares himself to a crosscut saw, I wince just a bit. Not that the song is weak, it’s just … not a pleasant thought.
Really, there’s no filler here, just a full dose of classic electric blues — the kind with which us old folks used to terrorize out parents. I think it might be worth a try to annoy our own kids. Kids LOVE oldies.
Voice Print Records: www.voiceprint.co.uk