10 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

From 1971, Mountain's second album proves that heavy metal would’ve evolved a lot differently had this band never existed. But it’s funny, because it’s also an example of hard rock chiasmus: here’s an American band influenced by an English band (Cream) that took their cues from the American blues. (Note that Mountain’s bassist/keyboardist Felix Pappalardi made his name producing Cream.) Yet at the start of the '70s, Mountain—fronted by godlike guitarist Leslie West—was all tattered stars and stripes. They rocked harder than anyone else at the time, maybe even before or since. (Both “Don’t Look Around” and “The Great Train Robbery” can simply shred trees.) Yet the (relatively) gentle “My Lady” and the hook-heavy “The Animal Trainer and the Toad” should’ve hit the American Top 40, just as the band’s gnarly signature tune (“Mississippi Queen”) did the previous year. The title song is the keystone here; its folky vocal melody and lyrical sea metaphor curl dexterously between calm and thundering shifts in tone. And forget trying to get away from “You Can’t Get Away!”

EDITORS’ NOTES

From 1971, Mountain's second album proves that heavy metal would’ve evolved a lot differently had this band never existed. But it’s funny, because it’s also an example of hard rock chiasmus: here’s an American band influenced by an English band (Cream) that took their cues from the American blues. (Note that Mountain’s bassist/keyboardist Felix Pappalardi made his name producing Cream.) Yet at the start of the '70s, Mountain—fronted by godlike guitarist Leslie West—was all tattered stars and stripes. They rocked harder than anyone else at the time, maybe even before or since. (Both “Don’t Look Around” and “The Great Train Robbery” can simply shred trees.) Yet the (relatively) gentle “My Lady” and the hook-heavy “The Animal Trainer and the Toad” should’ve hit the American Top 40, just as the band’s gnarly signature tune (“Mississippi Queen”) did the previous year. The title song is the keystone here; its folky vocal melody and lyrical sea metaphor curl dexterously between calm and thundering shifts in tone. And forget trying to get away from “You Can’t Get Away!”

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