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Mountain - Avalanche (LP)
 

Mountain - Avalanche (LP)

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Genre: rock
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  Avalanche
Company: Columbia
Catalog: KC 33088
Year: 1974
Country/State: Long Island, new York
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: --
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6346
Price: $9.00

Reunion projects tend to be major disappointments and you can put this one squarely in that category.

Technically I guess 1972's "Avalanche" would be deemed a Mountain reunion set after drummer Corky Laing and guitarist Lesley West had stepped out to release the one shot "West, Bruce & Laing". This time around the songwriting focus was clearly on Pappalardi and his wife Gayle Collins. The pair were credited with penning six of the ten tracks with Laing and West collaborating on two tracks. West also had one solo composition on the album - the attractive instrumental 'Alisan'. For a band with so much talent, this time out they seemed to be running on fumes. While there were flashes of energy and some of the old enthusiasm, those traits were harder to find this time out. Still. these guys were simply too talented to turn in an album without any merit. In this case 'Swamp Boy' had an interesting funk edge; 'Thumbsucker' had a slinky, slightly ominous feel, while the ballad ''I Love To See You Fly'' exhibited one of the band's prettiest melodies. West remained one of rock's most overlooked guitarists. Yeah, he may have lacked the subtlety of many better known players, but the guy sure knew how to play that guitar. Similarly, Pappalardi's creative bass moves were largely overlooked, while Laing was a solid drummer, content to stay in the background. Can't say it was a favorite for me, but lots of Mountain fans would disagree,

- So if you ever wondered what a Jerry Lee Lewis song would sound like if rearranged for a molten metal band ... well you need go no further than this lunk-headed cover of 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On'. To my ears this one almost sounded like a Spinal Tap parody. rating: ** stars
- With Pappalardi handling the lead vocals, the rocker 'Sister Justice' never really found a groove. To be honest, the song wasn't half bad if you ignored the dumb 'big statement' lyrics and those hideous Pappalardi vocals ... He sounded horribly flat on this one. Well, at least West and Perry turned some nice work towards the end of the track. Shame the song faded out just as the pair were starting to catch on fire. rating: ** stars
- The West instrumental 'Alisan' at least started out with some attractive 12 string acoustic guitar, giving you a break from the mindless three chord thrashing of the first two songs. Easily the album's prettiest number and it would have been even better had West and company not decided to turn the song into a country hoedown. rating: *** stars
- In spite of Pappalardi's nasally vocal, I'll readily admit to liking the slightly funky 'Swamp Boy'. West's fuzz guitar riff was irritatingly infectious. Bet a couple of cold beers made it even better ... rating: **** stars
- I guess you have to give them credit for having the collective balls to take on a rock classic like The Stones 'Satisfaction'. On the other hand, deciding to turn into a martial-paced blues-rock number probably wasn't the most creative arrangement one could have come up with. In spite of waves of fuzz guitar from West and Pappalardi's thundering bass, this one didn't even come close to making me forget the original. rating: ** stars
- So, I'm guessing that 'Thumbsucker' wasn't meant to be taken literally ... Opening up with some massive chords from West, this one blended a slinky rock edge with a catchy melody and that intriguing lyric ... Anyone know what the inspiration was ? rating: **** stars
- Penned by Laing and West, the rollicking 'You Better Believe It' was probably the album's most commercial number. Great, catchy number that exhibited far more energy than most of the stuff on the album. rating: **** stars
- The album's prettiest performance, 'I Love To See You Fly' also served to showcase what a nice voice Pappalardi had - especially when he wasn't trying to push it. Even Wes was to be commended for his light and attractive fills. rating: *** stars
- A completely forgettable slab of boogie rock, 'Back Where I Belong' was like listening to third rate Foghat. Pretty friggin' horrible. rating: * star
- Dedicated to Dr. John, 'Last of the Sunshine Days' had an old-fashioned bluesy vibe which you either loved, or hated. with a passion I fell into the latter category. rating: * star

Columbia seemingly did little to support the album, not even bothering to release a single. Frustrated, the band called it quits by the end of the year.

"Avalanche" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (D. Williams - S. David) - 5:05
2.) Sister Justice (Felix Pappalardi - Gayle Collins - W. Day) - 3:56
3.) Alisan (instrumental) (Lesley West) - 4:41
4.) Swamp Boy (Felix Pappalardi - Gayle Collins) - 2:54
5.) Satisfaction (Keith Richards - Mick Jagger) - 5:14

(side 2)
1.) Thumbsucker (Felix Pappalardi - Gayle Collins) - 3:20
2.) You Better Believe It (Lesley West - Corky Laing) - 5:47
3.) I Love To See You Fly (Felix Pappalardi - Gayle Collins - Lesley West) - 3:46
4.) Back Where I Belong (Lesley West - Corky Laing) - 2:56
5.) Last of the Sunshine Days (Felix Pappalardi - Gayle Collins) - 3:47
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