Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mountain - Nantucket Sleighride (Windfall, 1971)

I think this is a good place to pick up form Chris Royalty's posts, because I bet a LOT of dudes who owned that Grand Funk 45 also owned this Mountain album. I say 'dudes' because it is impossible that the music on either of these records could have appealed to any 'lady.'

This label is interesting for a bunch of reasons. First, it looks super cool. Second, there seems to be some inconsistency between the words and the image on this label. The record is called 'Nantucket Sleighride,' which is when a harpooned whale drags a whaling ship in its wake until the whale tires out and dies. This concept is perfectly inconsistent* with the tiny-pupiled druggie bird whose image droops into song titles like 'The Animal Trainer and the Toad.' If these ideas cohere in any way it's totally lost on me.

Third, it's really weird that a band like Mountain got to design the label of their album. If you look through your record collection, most records from the early and mid-seventies have standard labels. But somehow Mountain convinced their label that this funky bird needed representation not only several times on the album's cover, but also on the label. I don't know how many records Mountain sold with this effort, but I know 'Who's Next' has the standard MCA rainbow label, and it sold at least a gazillion copies. Windfall Records folded shortly after making this executive decision.

*The woman who designed this album cover, Gail Collins, was the wife of Felix Pappalardi, a Mountain member who had produced several Cream albums. Ten or twelve years later, Ms. Collins shot Mr. Pappalardi in the neck and killed him. My impression is that Ms. Collins and Mr. Pappalardi didn't really 'get' each other, and this album artwork appears to be early evidence of that. If Mr. Pappalardi had recognized this schism in '71 or so, he might be alive today. Just sayin.

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