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In 1976, Mountain drummer Corky Laing put together a supergroup called Pompeii with Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople), Andy Fraser (Free) and others, but the project stayed uncompleted until now.
The Secret Sessions, which also features contributions from Eric Clapton and Dickey Betts, will be released for this year's Record Store Day on April 21.
As Laing explained in a press release, Pompeii were created as a way of salvaging his record deal after the disintegration of Mountain and as punk was on the rise. "In this environment, my record company, Elektra/Asylum, was preparing to bail on me, but before doing so, they asked if I wanted to form a so-called 'supergroup,'" he recalled. "I had no choice, and so began the journey into The Secret Sessions."
He got together with Hunter and producer Bob Ezrin, and they were able to get Fraser, Steve Hunter (Alice Cooper) and singer and keyboardist Lee Michaels, who scored a Top 10 hit with "Do You Know What I Mean" earlier in the decade. They holed up in a studio outside New York City, but the sessions quickly fell apart, beginning with Ezrin, who left to produce The Wall for Pink Floyd.
"Then Steve Hunter got a call from Bette Midler and became the musical director for her film The Rose," Laing explained. "Andy Fraser really did go south – to continue with his solo project, and Lee Michaels went, well, wherever Lee Michaels wants to go.”
Laing and Hunter then called in reinforcements from their former respective bandmates, Felix Pappalardi and Mick Ronson. Clapton and Betts added guitar to "On My Way to Georgia," Todd Rundgren played organ and sang backup on "The Best Thing" and "The Outsider," Leslie West played guitar on three songs and John Sebastian blew harmonica on "Silent Movie." But the tracks still remained in the vault.
The LP contains 10 tracks, including covers of Randy VanWarmer's "Just When I Needed You Most" and Billy Joe Shaver's "Lowdown Freedom," and includes a digital download card with new recordings of "Easy Money," "Silent Movie" and "Growing Old With Rock N' Roll" that Laing made with his current band that includes guitarist Chris Shutters and bassist Mark Mikel, and help from Ted Nugent drummer Jason Hartless and keyboardists Craig Adams and Steve Feehan. Laing, Shutters and Mikel also worked up a new song, "Knock Me Over."