The new star-studded Leslie West tribute album, Legacy: A Tribute to Leslie West, arrived in its entirety last Friday (March 25), and as expected the record contains a dizzying array of explosive electric guitar-driven tributes to the late Mountain icon.
Chief among the tracklist is Yngwie Malmsteen’s supercharged cover of West’s 1969 cut Long Red, which sees the Swedish speed demon deck out West’s acoustic cut with his trademark style of dizzying lead work.
Teaming up with Teddy Rondinelli for the effort, Malmsteen totally transforms the original track, swapping out its ethereal keys and calming acoustic guitar progressions for a high octane opening exchange powered by scorching blues bends and, of course, a healthy dose of shred.
Malmsteen’s fretboard fireworks – which take all of three seconds to arrive – continue undisturbed for the first full minute of the cover, before introducing the vocals in a furious, million-miles-per-hour flurry of notes.
It’s a dramatic take on West’s original, which was first released on his debut solo album, Mountain, in 1969. In the latter half of the track, Malmsteen’s unrelenting lead work continues unabated, and helps close the cover out with another solid minute-and-a-half of shredding, sweeping and soloing.
You can hear the effort in the video above.
Malmsteen is joined on the Legacy: A Tribute to Leslie West tracklist by a number of A-list guitar-playing peers, including Slash, who contributed to the record a cover of West’s totemic track, Mississippi Queen.
Joining Slash and Malmsteen on what is perhaps one of the greatest tribute album lineups we’ve ever seen is Zakk Wylde – whose take on West's Blood of the Sun was the record’s lead single – Dee Snider, Steve Morse, Elliot Easton and George Lynch.
Other names on the album include Marty Friedman, Mike Portnoy, Joe Lynn Turner, Martin Barre and Robby Krieger, as well as Randy and Tal Bachman, Eddie Ojeda, Marc Labelle and Rev Jones.
West’s widow, Jenni, said in a statement when the album was announced, “Nobody in this world has ever made me feel loved as much as Leslie, and I feel so honored and grateful that I could give him this gift.
“He would often say, ‘If it doesn’t make my balls rumble, it’s not right,’” she continued. “And I think there’s some balls-rumbling tones on this record. When you’re listening to it, you might even think it’s Leslie playing – and that’s a good thing. He really believed that adage of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.
“Even when some of the players do their own twists on the music, they’re still doing it in a way that’s authentic and respectful, and Leslie would have appreciated that.”
Legacy: A Tribute to Leslie West is available to stream now.