That time I asked Leslie West about the awesome cowbell on Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen”

By Steve Newton

Check out this snapshot of five teenagers on summer vacation in the mid-’70s:

That’s me and some buddies from Chilliwack Senior High School, class of 1975, one our way up to the annual piss-up-and-puke-off in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. (I’m the geeky one with the fingers in my face, if you must know.)

The reason I’m posting this photo is because the car we’re leaning against–a white ’60s Valiant with mag wheels–is the same one we used to put speakers on and blast Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” when we got to the campsite in Penticton.

“Mississippi Queen” was one of my fave tunes back in the seventies. Especially the live version from the double-album Twin Peaks, which came out in ’74. As soon as I heard the awesome cowbell that opened the song I knew that Leslie West’s killer riffs were on their way.

When I got a chance to interview the American guitar legend in 2002 I made sure to ask him about that cowbell.

Have a listen:

 

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