The Mountain man has returned. Following the successful 2011 release of Unusual Suspects, Leslie West invited more of his industry comrades into the studio. Still Climbing features many special guests throughout, including the likes of Johnny Winter and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. West shows he’s still got it, and still climbing, for which the album is rightfully named. His pervasive growls still have the gusto to rifle your bones.
West delves into life’s struggles and strife, as well as its victories, as he’s experienced them. His reflections, bare-boned and down to earth, strike a chord with those who’ve been down those paths. West revisits some of the glory days in several covers, including one of his own. The album begins on an original note. “Dyin’ Since The Day I Was Born” is layered with a heavy grit and cynical theme. Tones of Alter Bridge shine through, as guest guitarist Mark Tremonti shreds alongside. “Busted, Disgusted or Dead,” featuring Johnny Winter, becomes a tale of two slingers, as each trade riffs on slide guitar. West turns it down for a few, including “Tales of Woe,” a soulful acoustic ballad, touching on the poignant moments of his past. “Feeling Good” brings the one and only Dee Snider to the mic, paying tribute to a track made famous by Traffic.
To keep the past alive, and relive the peak of his young career, West brings brother and bassist Larry West into the studio to re-record a classic off his first solo effort. “Long Red” features the organ most prominent in his days with Mountain. This fun, upbeat tune amends to lighten the mood, and is one that must’ve been a joy to reprise.
It’s great to see rock’s heyday still kicking, in the form of these pioneers such as West, now well into their veteran years. An album of this sort, with friends and collaborators along for the ride, reliving the old and forging the new, seeks to keep the fun alive and well. The process still the same, the result carries the genre to maintain its place in the industry.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Dyin’ Since The Day I Was Born
– Busted, Disgusted or Dead
– Tales of Woe
– Feeling Good
– Hatfield or McCoy
– Long Red
The Big Hit
– Long Red
Review by Don Tice