Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mountain - played at Woodstock, this Nantucket Sleighride

Mountain played at Woodstock, and this is August.  This album is called Nantucket Sleighride is the second album by hard rock band Mountain.  It followed Mountain Climbing!, the official debut studio album by seminal American blues-rock band Mountain.  The song and album title is a reference to the experience of being towed along in a small boat by a harpooned whale (see Nantucket sleighride.) Owen Coffin, to whom the song is dedicated, was a young seaman on the Nantucket whaleship Essex, which was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in 1820. In the aftermath of the wreck, Coffin was shot and eaten by his shipmates. The Essex's story was recorded by its First Mate, Owen Chase, one of eight survivors, in his 1821 Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex.   "Nantucket Sleighride" was used as the theme to the long-running British political television show Weekend World.  A cover version was recorded by British heavy metal band Quartz in 1980.  My pal Mac contends Mountain was among the first of the heavy metal bands.  The did played a heavier-type Blues Rock, mainly influenced by the well-known band Cream.  Woodstock was their fourth gig ever, and they played in front of maybe 400,000 (conservative estimate) people.  It was Saturday, Aug. 16th, the second day of the festival and they came on at about 9:00 pm.  Reports indicate Leslie West played solidly, and he likely botched the lyrics on "Southbound Train."  "Blood of the Sun" was their standard opener and it was followed by the Blues standard "Stormy Monday."  "Theme for an Imaginary Western" was written by Pete Brown and Jack Bruce - lyricist and bassist of Cream - and turned out to be a successful song for Mountain.  But no Mountain set would be complete without West's guitar solo which followed right after "Dreams of Milk and Honey."  "For Yasgur's Farm" is sometimes also entitled "Who Am I But You and the Sun."  After Woodstock, Mountain's drummer Norman Smart (formerly of Barry & the Remains) was replaced by Corky Laing, who worked as a roadie for the band.  He turned out to be superior to his predecessor many have thought.  Two songs Mountain performed at Woodstock - "Long Red" and "Waiting to Take you Away" - are on the 1972 album Live (The Road Goes Ever On).  A song entitled "Southbound Train" later included in the 1994 TV special called Woodstock Diaries is an edited version of the song performed at Woodstock.

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