Archive for the ‘West Bruce and Laing’ Category

Mountain Newcastle City Hall 2 Feb 1972 (and 2002, and 2003)

Mountain Newcastle City Hall 2 Feb 1972 (and 2002, and 2003)
My friend John is over from the USA this week, and he is a big Mountain fan, so for today’s post I thought I would cover the first time I saw Mountain, which was back in 1972. Support that night came from the Jimmy McCulloch Band. I remember that I arrived early for the gig, specifically to catch Jimmy. I’d seen him the year before at the City Hall when he was a member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. He’d left Mayall to form his own band which was initially called Bent Frame, and by this stage was known as The Jimmy McCulloch Band. I remember being once again impressed by how bluesy and technically good this young guy was. The next time I was to see Jimmy was as a member of Stone The Crows, who he joined a few months later. They had been a rumour around before this gig, that Mountain’s bass player Felix Papalardi was unwell and that his place was to be taken by Jack Bruce. I don’t know how true the rumour was, but on the night Felix was in place, and the line up of Mountain was the classic line up of Leslie West on guitar, Felix on bass, Corky Laing on drums and Bruce Knight on keyboards. Mountain were just great. Leslie is a giant of a man, lumbering around the stage with his Gibson slung low across his knees. The music was very LOUD, and very heavy, with Leslie’s unique guitar style and tone riding across the top. The set included Mountain classics such as: Crossroader; Nantucket Sleighride; and Mississippi Queen, and great covers like Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven and Jack Bruce’s Theme from an Imaginary Western. I remember being surprised when I began to hear Nantucket Sleighride as the theme for the UK TV show Weekend World. I saw Mountain a couple of times some 30 years or so later, and saw West Bruce and Laing a year or so afterwards, but the best time that I saw Leslie and Mountain was definitely that night in 1972. The programme scan is of a copy from the previous year (thanks John). The Tyne Theatre tickets are from Mountain shows in 2002 and 2003. It was great to see Leslie and Mountain at the Tyne Theatre after so many years, and the shows were both memorable, featuring all the old classics. Leslie’s guitar playing was as good as ever, and Corky Laing was there on drums, Felix having sadly passed away in 1983. The great Stray were support at one of those gigs. Leslie hasn’t been so well, and hasn’t made it over to the UK for a few years now, but is still playing in the US.

West, Bruce and Laing Newcastle City Hall 1973

West, Bruce and Laing Newcastle City Hall 1973
Now that WAS a rock band. Take Mountain guitar genius Leslie West, Cream super bassist Jack Bruce and powerhouse (also from Mountain) drummer Corky Laing, and you were certain to produce a great band. I’d seen Mountain the year before and had been blown away by Leslie West’s unique guitar style which moved effortlessly from very very heavy to gentle and beautiful. Mountain were very obviously influenced by Cream who I had sadly never seen (this was to be remedied many years later at their Albert Hall reunion), so I along with many others looked forward to see this power trio. My mate John and I went along to the gig, which proved to be just as good as I imagined, the set drawn from the West, Bruce and Laing album, and the Cream and Mountain back catalogue. John was a major Mountain fan, was very excited about the show and remembers it as one of the many highlights from that period in that venue.I can still picture Leslie, a giant of a man, with a Les Paul Jnr. slung low around his knees, wringing out the riffs. Great days. I was ecstatic when they closed with Sunshine of Your Love. It will be great to see Jack Bruce on Saturday. Hope he plays Theme from an Imaginary Western which Mountain also used to play (note afterwrds; Yes he did play it).   Makes me think about Leslie who hasn’t been so well lately. Hope you’re OK big man; you also gave us some great nights in the Tyne Theatre where Jack will be on Saturday. I also looked up support Jimmy Stevens. I can’t pretend to remember his set from that gig almost 40 years ago, but he is an interesting guy, who toured with the Bee Gees, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer and was managed by Robert Stigwood at the time. He still plays in his home town on Liverpool. John remembers West, Bruce and Laing playing Why Dontcha, Pleasure, Love is with the blues, Third Degree, The Doctor, the bass solo Powerhouse Sod, Sunshine of Your Love, Politician, and possibly Mississippi Queen and Theme form an Imaginary Western. He recalls somebody, Leslie or Jack, wearing Red Platform sole boots and going out to buy some the following week! Thanks to John for the poster scan.