|ojotigre||Fecha: Jueves, 2013-10-31, 10:00 AM | Mensaje # 1|
|LESLIE WEST - Still Climbing (2013) |
In many ways, LESLIE WEST's new album "Still Climbing" is another hard-rocking link in a very long musical chain. West is best remembered,
of course, for being the guitarist and vocal belter in Mountain that
started in the late sixties, and in the decades to come, some would
recognize that Mountain was an obvious precursor to what would become
hard rock / heavy metal.
After all, Black Sabbath supported Mountain in the British band's first U.S. tour.
Throughout the 11 songs of "Still Climbing", clear nods to this past are
evident in both style and substance along with equally clear signs of
artistic development and personal growth. This new Leslie West record
features guest stars Jonny Lang, Johnny Winter, Twisted Sister's Dee
Snider and Alter Bridge/Creed's Mark Tremonti, a diverse crew which help
to obtain that classic rock sound but also brings an updated feel to
Lang shares vocals and lead guitar on a track that harkens back to
West's origins, a cover of Percy Sledge "When a Man Loves a Woman," one
of many reminders why West should be known for his deep-throated soul
singing as well as his hot guitar licks. In fact, West credits his
quitting smoking for the strength in his current delivery, which is one
area he feels is dramatically improved in this release.
Speaking of ballsy vocals, the pairing of West with Snider on "Feeling Good" is another song underlining the albums themes of affirmation and
survival. Written by Anthony Newley and made famous by Traffic, the song
opens with a simple piano introduction before the singers take off with
shouting bluesy choruses. To be honest, I didn't know Snider could fit
so well into a bluesy setting.
Of course, that is exactly the musical recipe you'd expect West and
Johnny Winter would thrive in together, notably on the slide fest
"Busted, Disgusted or Dead". Equally hard-edged songs include the
album's opener, "Dyin' Since the Day I Was Born" (which Slash described
as one of the heaviest songs West has ever done) and the crunching
"Hatfield or McCoy".
Not everything is so dramatic. A more romantic theme is evident in "Fade
Into You," which opens with acoustic folk rock verses before exploding
into '70s-era arena rock choruses complete with synthesizer support. The
slow ballad, "Tales of Woe," also has acoustic chords under fluid
electric guitar lines punctuating the unhappy lyrics. "Not Over You at
All" is gritty blues rock with very cool sax spicing up the bridges.
One strong echo of Mountain is in the hard-driving "Don't Ever Let Me
Go", but the most overt reference to West's famous band is a reworking
of Mountain's "Long Red", a number that's enjoyed a bit of a
renaissance. It's been sampled by Jay-Z, Common, and Kanye West. The
Still Climbing version has long time friend Larry West on bass and is
the version Leslie West is doing on stage now.
Speaking of bass players, the album closes with "Rev Jones Time
(Somewhere Over the Rainbow)", a short version of a bass solo 'Rev
Jones' plays at the shows. For trivia buffs, 'Rev Jones' is actually
professional musician Jim Jones Jr. No, he's not a real reverend.
Co-produced by West & drummer Mike 'Metal' Goldberg and mixed by
expert Mike Fraser, "Still Climbing" is distinguished by a big guitar
sound played on four of his Dean signature model guitars with his
Mountain of Tone humbucking pickups plugged into his Blackstar amps with
All the playing is loud and raw, and that's the way it should be. Balls,
guts, heart - these words are part of West's legend and describe the
roaring crescendos and deep emotional roots of "Still Climbing".
The bottom line is: some guitar gods just keep getting better and
better. With those pipes, Leslie West is the perfect rock and roll
package to prove the founding fathers of hard rock and heavy metal can
still teach upcoming generations a trick or two.
And if younger players want to survive in the rock and roll world, the
lessons Leslie West teaches are all about climbing and climbing for both
triumph and renewal.
"Still Climbing" will rock your socks off, crank it to 11 and enjoy.
01. Dyin' Since The Day I Was Born [feat. Mark Tremonti]
02. Busted, Disgusted or Dead [feat. Johnny Winter]
03. Fade Into You
04. Not Over You At All
05. Tales Of Woe
06. Feeling Good [feat. Dee Snider]
07. Hatfield or McCoy
08. When A Man Loves A Woman [feat. Jonny Lang]
09. Long Red
10. Don't Ever Let Me Go [feat. Dylan Rose]
11. Rev Jones Time (Somewhere Over The Rainbow)
Leslie West - Guitars, Vocals
David Biglin - Acoustic Guitar, Hammond B3, Piano, Strings
Rev Jones, Larry Weinstein - Bass
Mike 'Metal' Goldberg - Drums, Engineer, Producer
Dylan Rose - Guitar
Elaine Caswell - Backing Vocals
Dee Snider - Guest Vocals
Jonny Lang - Guest Guitar, Vocals
Johnny Winter - Guest Guitar
Mark Tremonti - Guest Guitar, Vocals
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