Corky Laing Plays Mountain. Part 1

A brief history lesson regarding Mountain before the gig  review from Fibbers.  ‘Mountain’s’ appearance on day 2 of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, sandwiched between Canned Heat and the Grateful Dead, has thrown up all sorts of differences of opinion.

I watched on Youtube an interview with Corky from last year, where he reveals to a stunned host that he never actually played at Woodstock. (I and other Mountain fans have known this for some time). Corky actually repeated this at the gig, and also iterated how he was asked to overdub Ric Lee’s drums on Ten Years After’s ‘Going Home’ because of a technical hitch.  So Corky actually got a gold record for sales of the triple LP soundtrack but was never there!  And Mountain weren’t on it either.

Things get even more complicated regarding the Woodstock 2 double lp. Two tracks from Mountain were on it, but it appeared that despite ‘Mountain’s’ introduction and Leslie West’s chat about ‘Theme for an Imaginary Western’ being genuine , the actual performances were from another gig. A subsequent Woodstock re-issue has stated that the tracks were indeed from Mountain’s set. The version of ‘Western’ on Woodstock 2 is definitely NOT the same as the one on Mountain’s Official Bootleg series Vol 7 featuring Woodstock. Felix Pappalardi messes up the first verse at Woodstock. The Woodstock 2 version is really good though.  And Corky plays on that!  And that’s before looking at the other track ‘Blood of the Sun’ and it’s provenance.

Corky also says in the interview that the group at Woodstock were technically not ‘Mountain’ and that Felix and Leslie asked him and Steve Knight to form Mountain with them after Woodstock. Corky also says Steve Knight didn’t play at Woodstock. I have to say that the footage is limited , but it certainly looks and sounds like Steve Knight!  But I will bow to Corky’s version and sadly Steve Knight died in 2013 so can’t say yes or no.  Quite a few internet sites say Mr Knight played at Woodstock though.  Some people reckon it was their first gig, some say it was their fourth.

And it gets more interesting, as 2 tracks from Mountain’s Woodstock gig appear on 1972’s Mountain Live lp, but the drummer at Woodstock , Norman Smart, doesn’t get a mention.

It may seem all pedantic and nitpicking to some, but it is actually important for a big reason…greenbacks!  These musicians are/were  professional, and should be paid for their work, just as anyone who works is.  Pappalardi and West won’t have lost any money, I reckon, but it is a minefield regarding who drummed on what and where and when.  OK, Woodstock 2 didn’t sell a million copies but Mountain Live was a good seller.

If Carlsberg made drummers, they would be Corky Laing!!  ‘A wizard, a true star’. ( Todd Rundgren)

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