By Mike Greenblatt
The drummer of the legendary band Mountain is still making music. Corky Laing has released his first solo album in decades and his songwriting and drumming are still elite. The Toledo Sessions (Prudential Records) was recorded in Ohio with respected blues guitarist Chris Shutters and Mark Mikel, a studio whiz and multi-instrumentalist who can also be heard on the new album by Alan Parsons.
The sound is in the mode of the songs that Felix Pappalardi sang on such classic albums as Climbing! and Nantucket Sleighride. Add Richie Scarlet, the longtime “Emperor Of Rock and Roll” and oftentimes described as the “World’s Most Dangerous Guitar Player,” to add those West-ern riffs like back in the day, and you’ve got one Major League Classic Rock mountain to climb.
You can read the 10 albums that changed Laing’s life by picking up the latest issue of Goldmine on the newsstand. But here online, as a bonus, we will include picks from his bandmates, Mark Mikel and Richie Scarlet.
Magical Mystery Tour / The Beatles
An album that has both “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “I Am the Walrus” just really can’t be rivaled in my mind. I would be a completely different musician had those songs never existed. Of course, the rest of the album is psychedelic Beatle-perfection.
The Who Sell Out / The Who
This album just edges out Tommy. It has actual psychedelic tracks. That never really happened again. The deluxe version with all of the unreleased tracks is my favorite version. I don’t think that they ever released another album quite as fun.
The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society / The Kinks
The perfect Ray Davies songbook. Every song makes me wish that I wrote it. I don’t know which is stronger; the lyrics or the melodic hooks. Ray is a master of both which is very rare. I’m never not in the mood to hear this album.
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones LTD. / The Monkees
I got this album for Christmas when I was 6 years old. I’ve never stopped listening to it. This probably set me on a path to being the psychedelic freak I am today. The Monkees were a real band at this point and not many bands have a song as cool as “Daily Nightly.”
Their Satanic Majesties Request / The Rolling Stones
The grittiest rock and roll band ever dives deep into psychedelia. I find it completely irresistible though I know many people consider it one of their worst. The experimentation was through the roof and it sounds brilliant to my ears. “2000 Lights Years From Home” is one of the most alluring Stones tracks ever and that alone makes it worth the price of admission.
The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn / Pink Floyd
There is no other album like this, Floyd or otherwise. It’s just a unique blend of melody and irreverence. If I’m ever in a dry spell, one listen to this usually cures it.
Queen II / Queen
This album was an eye opener for me. I still can’t really fathom how that many vocal and guitar overdubs can sound pleasing, but in this case, they certainly do. I learn something every time I listen to it. Bombast with charm that rock has never seen before or since.
Pet Sounds / The Beach Boys
Is there an explanation needed? Any serious student of popular music knows this set a new high bar for everything to come afterwards. Rock music’s only true genius (Brian Wilson) at his songwriting and production peak. No other singers could touch The Beach Boys and no other band could play as well as the Wrecking Crew.
The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars / David Bowie
This is the album that most power pop bands always try to rival. It really can’t be done. Even Bowie had to pretend to be someone else to pull it off. Shades of punk to come with undeniable sophistication. Rock had truly arrived and died at the same brief moment.
Houses Of The Holy / Led Zeppelin
I love every Led Zeppelin album. This was the first one that I owned and I think that’s why it made my list. I had never heard a band sound like that before. It took a while for me to get it, but once I did, I was hooked for life.
Rubber Soul / The Beatles
The songwriting and their look on the cover made a huge impact on me.
The Psychedelic Sounds / 13th Floor Elevators
Just the sounds on the album; the jug and Roky Erickson’s voice.
Are You Experienced / The Jimi Hendrix Experience
This album made me want to play guitar. I’ve never heard anything like it – then or now. The Mitch Mitchell drumming was just mind-blowing.
Never Mind the Bollocks / Sex Pistols
This was the album I was waiting for. I was so bored with the state of rock ‘n’ roll, then this came along and kicked everything into pure attitude.
Bang Bang / Terry Reid
A voice that took it to another level. Great songs.
Broken Heart / The Babys
The whole package; the look, great songs, and great production with strings.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars / David Bowie
The album didn’t leave my turntable for six months. I loved the whole record from beginning to end. Mick Ronson and David Bowie were magic together.
Back in the USA / MC5
Unbelievably catchy three-minute songs. I loved the guitar solos by Wayne Kramer. Pure American rock ‘n’ roll.
Captain Beyond / Captain Beyond
Masterpiece of hard rock from start to finish. I loved Bobby Caldwell’s drumming and the album cover blew my mind.
Truth / Jeff Beck
The album I cut my teeth on playing guitar. This was the first time I heard Rod Stewart and I loved his voice. Jeff Beck’s guitar playing was to die for. Loved Ronnie Wood’s bass playing and Nicky Hopkins’ piano playing was superb.