Mountain Bus

Sundance

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

The fiasco of the lawsuit against Mountain Bus and Good Records by the people who represented Mountain really obscures the fact that the band created some fabulous, atmospheric, and ambient music that at times bears a striking resemblance to the music being created by the Grateful Dead during the same period. Nothing, however, can obscure excellent songs, and Sundance is full of them. Like the Grateful Dead, Mountain Bus had a communal-like closeness and were part of a countercultural community, and like the Dead, their music was a composite of rock, country, bluegrass, folk, and blues components, with perhaps a slightly more predominant country influence to the Dead's bluegrass. The two bands also had tremendous improvisatory playing capabilities in common, although Sundance might be a somewhat better example of a band getting their live dynamic down on tape in the studio than the Grateful Dead did on any of their early studio recordings before 1970. Most of the songs on the album are band-composed and are studies in shifting dynamics and laid-back, loping playing that sounds, more than anything else, like good-time fun. "Rosalie" is a gentle, acoustic country swinger, with Tom Jurkens sounding so much like Jerry Garcia that even hardcore Deadheads would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two, but the songs also vary from succinct pop and country tunes to lengthy jams that can be otherworldly and soulful or can simply smoke, as they do on "The Bus Keeps Rollin'" and Willie Dixon's "(Meet Me) Down in the Bottom." It would be easy to label Mountain Bus derivative, yet Sundance doesn't feel like a pale imitation. Even if it were derivative, the album is so well composed and played that it is entirely capable of parading a listener away. The song quality does vary, but overall, Sundance makes the early termination of Mountain Bus a minor tragedy.

blue highlight denotes track pick