Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck|
3 stars out of 4
With Climbing already gold Mountain jumped right back
into the studio the following year in an attempt to duplicate their
previous success. Nantucket Sleighride (1971) was a masterful
production with Felix Pappalardi at the helm once again. The opening
track kicks things off with Leslie West belting out Don't Look Around,
much in the same way the previous album started with a wallop, after
that though the atmosphere of the album changes, at times dramatically.
This recording did not have the rawness and brashness of the previous
outing; it was more complex musically and lyrically while maintaining
the bands musical integrity and giving it more polish at the same
time, there was still something missing. Felix had more influence
on this recording and seemed to tighten the grip on the West energy
level; hence, the big mans toughness and brashness did not prevail
and neither did his sledgehammer guitar. Although his playing was
sharp, West sounded more restrained, refined and produced this time
out. The energy was definitely different in the studio for the band
on their sophomore effort. Even so, this newly remastered classic
has withstood the test of time quite nicely and it sounds great with
a live bonus track included of Travellin in the Dark (To E.M.P.).
The Animal Trainer and the Toad was a step in an entirely different
direction for them musically and lyrically, it actually sounds like
something that should have been on another album. It was seemingly
out of character for the group, nevertheless interesting and entertaining.
The title track was the centerpiece for the album and it was about
old tales told by whale hunters. The men would harpoon the whale and
then the creature would go under the sea then crash to the surface
and pull the boat until it died of exhaustion and constant harpooning.
I know it sounds cruel, and it is, but this was a reality for men
that made their living from whales, and unfortunately for the hunted.
The reason this song came to life is that Felix bought a house in
Nantucket, Massachusetts at the time and was inspired to write about
local lore. How do I know this? I read the liner notes provided by
West and Corky Laing. Once again, the two surviving members provide
amusing color commentary to the music.
As much as I enjoyed this album, it was not as poignant as their first
release. It was a long time ago when this album was released (1971)
and now in 2003 the music of Mountain is experiencing a rebirth
that is worthy of their work. Their music remains relevant and pleasing
to the ears of this rock music lover and that it is fact.
1. Don't Look Around - 3:47
2. Taunta (Sammy's Tune) - 1:00
3. Nantucket Sleighride - 5:55
4. You Can't Get Away! - 3:28
5. Tired Angels (To J.M.H.) - 4:42
6. The Animal Trainer and the Toad - 3:29
7. My Lady - 4:35
8. Travellin' in the Dark (To E.M.P.) - 4:26
9. The Great Train Robbery - 5:50
10. Travellin' in the Dark (To E.M.P.) *Bonus Live Track - 5:09