Mountain was unofficially formed in 1969 when guitarist Leslie West and former Cream producer, and unofficial band member, Felix Pappalardi teamed up to produce West's first solo album titled Mountain. Many still categorize that as the debut Mountain album since West, Pappalardi and drummer N.D. Smart toured under the name Mountain shortly after the album's release. Amazingly, the band's fourth live gig was performed at Woodstock, but they did not make it on the official film or album recordings of that monumental festival.
Heavily influenced by the psychedelic blues-rock sounds of Cream, they were often dubbed as the poor man's Cream, although they went on to forge their own harder-edged sound. In 1970 Smart was replaced by Corky Laing, and Steve Knight was added as keyboard player for the recording of Mountain's actual debut album, Climbing! This album reached the top 20 of the U.S. album charts and produced a top-40 hit with "Mississippi Queen," which helped to make them a major concert draw up until their initial breakup in 1972.
Live In Paris was recorded at the Palais Omnisports in Paris, France on July 8 & 9, 1985 during Mountain's tour promoting their recent album Go For Your Life. Tragically, Felix Pappalardi had been shot and killed by his own wife two years prior to this release. West and Laing decided to regroup with British bassist Mark Clarke. For this particular European tour, Mountain were serving as opening act for Deep Purple who were on the heels of their monstrous reunion tour featuring the famous MKII lineup.
This is a very short set, featuring only six songs, although "Nantucket Sleighride" goes on for nearly 20 minutes. I doubt that anything was not included from the actual set they played, since they were the opening act and a 50-minute set is pretty respectable. The show kicks off surprisingly with the West, Bruce & Laing number "Why Don't Cha," which is from their 1973 album of the same name. The concert was filmed for German TV, and each of the songs is introduced with big white song titles along the bottom of the screen.
By the middle of the second song "Never in My Life," the band is having a blast up on stage, with Laing flipping his drumsticks at West who in turn catches them and flips them behind his back into the crowd - never missing a beat either. "Theme From an Imaginary Western", which West dedicates to Pappalardi, slows things down a bit next, as Clarke and West share the lead vocals that were originally sung so well by Pappalardi. He sounded strikingly similar to the song's composer, Jack Bruce. Clarke and West do not really do the song justice vocally, and Clarke also plays the organ part on some horrible sounding synthesizer that in no way resembled Steve Knight's excellent Hammond organ performance on the original album version.