Sound — 8
The band that was a knockoff of Clapton's Cream? Yeah right that's bull. Mountain was a true heavyweight power trio, with the occasional keyboard player on a few songs, and boy did they rock. The footage from the live Woodstock with Leslie West ripping riffs and leads on that tiny Les Paul Jr. is all the evidence I need to checkout this album out. They lasted a few more albums after this one but with "Climbing!" they made a monumental statement as tall and big as Leslie West himself.
Lyrics — 8
The most popular song everyone will know is the immortal FM song "Mississippi Queen" which displays West's guitar abilities as meat & potatoes with fuzz on the side. However I found "Theme From An Imaginary Western" and "Yasgur's Farm" just as creative as anything they played on the radio. Both are mellow but still have quite the rock song structured because Pappalardi takes over on vocals which works well as a foil to West's gritty singing. "Never In My Life" roars like a beast with West at the helm and Laing's drumming propelling the song with force. "Silver Paper" has keyboardist Steve Knight adding a organ line in double up on the rhythms making quite the groove oriented song, another good one. "To My Friend" and "The Laird" have West riffing away on acoustic which is awesome cause he ain't no one trick pony lol. "Sitting On A Rainbow" has the whole band locking on a jam-groove type song, I thought this one was good enough to be played on the radio but sadly the radio stations suck. The closure "Boys In The Band" has this almost elegy touch to it, its nice and brooding. West as usual has his fuzzed LP playing nice leads all over the song which got me firing my fuzzface up with my LP and Marshall. I love this album and not just for the "Mississippi Queen" song but for the whole album. Its a creative tour de force power trio that also set the standards like Cream ded. Too bad they couldn't make a strong follow up album cause they would've tore down the Isle Of Wight if they had played there!
Overall Impression — 9
I've always been a big fan of Mountain/Leslie West ever since I first heard "Mississippi Queen" on the radio. As a teen I learned some of the songs on the album and have always used em at band warm ups. Its kind of a downer to find out that most people aren't big enough fans. I can't think of a bad thing to say other than that Mountain didn't make as many albums as I wanted them to. If I lost my only copy of "Climbing!" I'd buy a copy on CD AND vinyl. It's that epic sounding!