Mississippi Queen “has just everything you need to make it a winner. You’ve got the Chris Walken cowbell**, the riff is pretty damn good, and it sounds incredible. It feels like it wants to jump out of your car radio. To me, it sounds like a big, thick milkshake. It’s rich and chocolatey. Who doesn’t love that?” — The late Leslie West to Guitar Player‘s Joe Bosso, posted on 8.31.20.

Mountain (West, bassist and vocalist Felix Pappalardi, keyboardist Steve Knight, drummer N. D. Smart) lasted from ’70 to ’72. It wasn’t about metal but old-style hard rock. Metal didn’t really kick in until ’73 or thereabouts. It was fully established by the mid ’70s.

** I cheated, I lied — West didn’t actually say “Chris Walken cowbell” — I stuck that in on my own.