Leslie West photo credit Justin Borucki

Tribute to Leslie West

Following the untimely passing of legendary MOUNTAIN guitarist LESLIE WEST close friends, and very many artists who were influenced by West, have come together to contribute to Legacy: A Tribute To Leslie West, due out on March 25th via Provogue/Mascot Label Group.

Amongst those who performed on the tribute album are Dee Snider and Twisted Sister bandmate Eddie Ojeda, Robby Krieger, Slash, Zakk Wilde, Randy and Tal Bachman, Jethro Tull’s Martin Barre, Joe Lynn Turner, Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr, The Cars’ Elliot Easton, George Lynch, Marty Friedman, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Morse, Dirty Honey’s Mark Labelle, Mike Portnoy, and West’s band members Bobby Rondinelli and Rev Jones.

West began his career in music with the Vagrants, a blue-eyed soul-rock act influenced by the Rascals, one of the few teenage garage rock acts of the mid-1960s.

Some of the Vagrants’ recordings were produced by bassist/lead vocalist Felix Pappalardi, who as a producer, also worked with Cream on Disraeli Gears (1967). 

The Vagrants 1966
The Vagrants 1966

In 1969, West and Pappalardi formed Mountain, which were destined to become a pioneering hard-rock band and would later be described (by Rolling Stone) as a “louder version of Cream”.

The original incarnation of Mountain saw West & Pappalardi sharing vocals and playing guitar and bass. Drummer Corky Laing joined the band shortly after their Woodstock appearance.

a copious adventure into heavy blues, growling lows, and precipitous highs…

Raw Ramp Music Magazine

Their debut album, “Climbing” was released in 1970 and includes the momentous Mississippi Queen. According to rock legend, this was the first major rock hit to employ cowbell rhythms! The smash features Slash & Marc Labelle on the 2022 tribute release and retains (the cowbells) but most importantly (we think) it preserves the excitment and lascivious explosiveness found on the original.

Blood of the Sun” (music video shared below) features Zakk Wylde and drives like a hit hog on a lonely road. While “Never In My Life” (feat. Dee Snider & George Lynch) is a vigorous big-boned groover, with scuzz and wriggle a-plenty.

Long Red” features the liquid flounce of Yngwie Malmsteen, but with the steadying clout of Teddy Rondinelli (Vanilla Fudge) and powered by drummer Bobby Rondinelli & bassist Rev Jones, it becomes a copious adventure into heavy blues, with growling lows, and Yngwie’s precipitous highs.

LEGACY: A TRIBUTE TO LESLIE WEST

“There was nobody on earth quite like Leslie,” says the guitarist’s widow, Jenni West. “The second you heard him play, you knew it was him.” 

“He loved playing the guitar and making music. He lived to make people feel good – it was his passion. He was famous to his fans throughout The World, but he was adored by other musicians.” 

“Everybody from country stars, rappers and heavy metal players – they all loved Leslie. He found it surprising, but I think he was also pleased to know how much he inspired other musicians.”

Man photo: Justin Borucki

Track Listing

  • Blood of the Sun (feat. Zakk Wylde)
  • Nantucket Sleighride (To Owen Coffin) (feat. Joe Lynn Turner, Marty Friedman)
  • Theme for an Imaginary Western (feat. Dee Snider, Mike Portnoy)
  • For Yasgur’s Farm (feat. Joe Lynn Turner, Martin Barre)
  • Why Dontcha (feat. Steve Morse, Ronnie Romero)
  • Sittin’ On a Rainbow (feat. Elliot Easton, Ronnie Romero)
  • Never in My Life (feat. Dee Snider, George Lynch)
  • The Doctor (feat. Robby Krieger, Ronnie Romero)
  • Silver Paper (feat. Charlie Starr)
  • Money (Whatcha Gonna Do)/By the River – medley (feat. Randy Bachman & Tal Bachman)
  • Long Red (feat. Yngwie Malmsteen & Teddy Rondinelli)
  • Mississippi Queen (feat. Slash, Marc Labelle)

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