This man stood on the stage at Woodstock with the legendary Mountain and from then on rock stardom and respect was guaranteed. Unlike bands like the The Who and Santana for example who amongst others went on to Stadium filling outfits. Mountain remained a heavy rock purists dream.
Now aged 65 and recently loosing the bottom half of his right leg to amputation following complications from diabetes. Leslie West returns, accompanied by guest appearances from Slash, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Zakk Wyl
The album is pure blues rock this time around and was completed before Leslie’s operation and with those aforementioned alumni of guitarists adding a helping hand.
Nice piano and Steve Lukather‘s (Toto) acoustic guitar combine with Leslie on the opening blues boogie work out of ‘One More Drink for the Road’. Low down and dirty, ‘Mudflap Mama’ features Slash. Two songs in and already sparkling guitars!
‘To The Moon’ is just Leslie with the band and it’s a smooth rock song, that explodes into an anthem. Straight back to the special guests with Billy F. Gibbons. ‘Standing on Higher Ground’ was recorded standing toe to toe in a Los Angeles Studio. It has Gibbon’s trademark guitar all over it. (ZZ Top got one on their first major breaks supporting Mountain on tour, way back when) and is a real rocker.
Willie Dixon and Eddie Boyd’s blues standard Third Degree is re-recorded for this album by Leslie and this time with Joe Bonamassa along for the ride. It’s a stunner. Zakk Wylde appears on Nothing Changed and again the blues ferocity drives the song.
The power house behind all the songs is drummer Kenny Aronoff and with half the songs on the album ‘guestless’ is gives the album great contrast.
Whist the cover of ‘I Feel Fine’ does not really add anything to the song, the matter is soon put right with a superb rendition of Willie Nelson’s ‘Turn Out The Lights’ with West,Wylde and Slash on acoustic and electric guitars. It’s a gem.
It’s been a long road for Leslie West and with recovery and health going forward it’s gonna just get longer.
1. One More Drink for the Road
2. Mud Flap Momma
3. To the Moon
4. Standing on Higher Ground
5. Third Degree
7. Nothin's Changed
8. I Feel Fine
9. Love You Forever
10. My Gravity
11. The Party's Over
12. I Don't Know (Bonus)
13. The Beetlejuice Song
Unusual Suspects is released by Provogue Records on 19th September.
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