Various Artists

Third Annual Gathering on the Mountain

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In 1995, the Big Boulder Ski Area and Jack Frost Mountain in the Poconos began presenting a festival dubbed The Musical Gathering, which was intended to pay "tribute to the legendary artists that formed the psychedelic music scene of the late 1960s." Those words were taken from the liner notes from Relix's Third Annual Gathering on the Mountain, an aural souvenir of the third of these concerts. The music on the compilation is not really psychedelic, at least according to the average listener's definition. Instead, it's rootsy jam music in the vein of the Grateful Dead or Hot Tuna, whose Jorma Kaukonen dominates this seven-track collection with three songs. All the featured acts -- which also include Tom Constanten, the Donna Jean Band, Merl Saunders and Toni Brown -- share a similar esthetic (as well as a fondness for covers), which makes the record hold together well, but if you're not into this kind of elastic jam, chances are this will sound really monotonous. However, it's not bad -- it has an appealing laid-back vibe and it's pleasant enough to have in the background. Then again, there's nothing outstanding on the record -- no unusual songs, no captivating solos. It's all not-bad, which means that it will work best for listeners who are devoted fans of any of the featured musicians, or were at the Poconos for the live gathering.

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