Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Mountain

  • Mountain Climbing [Windfall, 1970] C+
  • Flowers of Evil [Windfall, 1971] C
  • The Best of Mountain [Windfall, 1973] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Mountain Climbing [Windfall, 1970]
We all know they're the original Cremora--what this makes clearer is that they're Jack Bruce's third of the jar. On "For Yasgur's Farm" Felix Pappalardi emulates JB's self-dramatizing vocal propriety as well as his bass lines, but when Leslie West runs an acoustic guitar solo from raga to flamenco without ever touching the blues you know he's not doing an Eric Clapton tribute. Can't fit the humongous "Mississippi Queen" into this theory, but I can tell you who wrote "Theme for an Imaginary Western": Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. C+

Flowers of Evil [Windfall, 1971]
You can't deny these boys are pros--they know how to pace an album, hard ones and soft ones and golden oldies and rhinestone originals, and I still love their famous fat-skinny counterpoint on stage. But any group that can attach a line like "Proud and gentle was the loving of the last two island swans" to a great hard rock tune has got to be doing something wrong. C

The Best of Mountain [Windfall, 1973]
Mountain Climbing is the only album of theirs I've ever enjoyed even momentarily. This selects all of its enjoyable tracks and adds relatively classy filler like "Nantucket Sleighride" (heavy-metal myth discovers America) and "The Animal Trainer and the Toad" (one of two songs on this record to mention Beethoven). So I guess it's better. But it's not that much better. C+

Further Notes:

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]