Elephant Mountain

Elephant Mountain is an album by the American rock band The Youngbloods, released in 1969. It reached number 118 on the Billboard 200 chart.[1]

Elephant Mountain
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 1969
RecordedRCA's Music Center of the World in Hollywood, California.
LabelRCA Victor
ProducerCharlie Daniels, The Youngbloods, Bob Cullen
The Youngbloods chronology
Earth Music
Elephant Mountain
Rock Festival
Singles from Elephant Mountain
  1. "Quicksand"/"Dreamer's Dream"
    Released: January 1968
  2. "Darkness, Darkness"/"On Sir Francis Drake"
    Released: April 1969
  3. "Sunlight"/"Trillium"
    Released: November 1969
  4. "Darkness, Darkness"/"On Sir Francis Drake"
    Released: April 1970


With the departure of member and co-founder Jerry Corbitt, Jesse Colin Young became the primary songwriter of the band, penning seven of the 13 tracks on the album, and co-writing four more with Lowell "Banana" Levinger and Joe Bauer. The four tracks credited to Young, Banana, and Bauer are all instrumentals.

Levinger's "On Sir Francis Drake" is an instrumental named after Sir Francis Drake Boulevard of Marin County, where the band had recently moved. At 6:44 it is the longest track on the album, consisting of two sections, the first an electric piano-based waltz, the second a blues jam with some bass soloing by Young. The only other song on the album not co-written by Young is "Rain Song (Don't Let the Rain Bring You Down)", which is similar to their earlier "jug band" style songs like "Euphoria" and "The Wine Song"; it was co-written by Jerry Corbitt, Felix Pappalardi and Gail Collins, his wife.

According to the liner notes on the Sundazed reissue, the album was "begun in New York early in 1967, then finished in RCA's Hollywood studios after the band moved to San Francisco, but not released until 1969." Liner notes writer Jud Cost mentions that original member, Jerry Corbitt, though uncredited in the liner notes, performs "on a couple of Elephant Mountain tracks, notably singing the vocal with Young on 'Smug'."

Unlike their previous albums, there are no covers of songs by other artists.

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[2]

Although not specified on the album cover, the mountain depicted is Black Mountain (locally called Elephant Mountain), located west of the Nicasio Reservoir in Marin County.

Sundazed released a remastered version in 2008 with "Previously Unissued Bonus Tracks," including "Pool Hall Song" and "Beautiful" (alternate version).

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [1]
The Village VoiceC+[3]

Reviewing for The Village Voice in 1969, Robert Christgau wrote, "In the manner of tight groups, the Youngbloods stretch thinner all the time. Not only have they lost Jerry Corbitt, but their own expertise has become somehow attenuated. Banana used to be the most tasteful electric pianist in rock. Now he has become so tasteful he can sounds like Roy Kral on a lazy night."[3] Lester Bangs was more enthusiastic in Rolling Stone, saying "this is one of the most encouraging albums I have heard in months. ... This album exudes that supremely rare commodity in these dark, bored, destructive times – joy."[4]

Years later, Rolling Stone said the album "bridges the gap between the last days of psychedelia and the outbreak of country-rock that had afflicted artists like the Byrds and Neil Young."[4] In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Lindsay Planer praised the album, feeling that it "contains some of the band's strongest material to date".[1] The New York Times described the album as their "1969 folk-rock touchstone".[5]

Track listingEdit

Side oneEdit

  1. "Darkness, Darkness" (Jesse Colin Young) – 3:51
  2. "Smug" (Young) – 2:13
  3. "On Sir Francis Drake" (Lowell Levinger) – 6:44
  4. "Sunlight" (Young) – 3:07
  5. "Double Sunlight" (Levinger, Young, Joe Bauer) – 0:41
  6. "Beautiful" (Young) – 3:49
  7. "Turn It Over" (Levinger, Young, Bauer) – 0:15

Side twoEdit

  1. "Rain Song (Don't Let the Rain Bring You Down)" (Jerry Corbitt, Pappalardi, Collins) – 3:13
  2. "Trillium" (Levinger, Young, Bauer) – 3:08
  3. "Quicksand"* (Young) – 2:41
  4. "Black Mountain Breakdown" (Levinger, Young, Bauer) – 0:40
  5. "Sham"* (Young) – 2:44
  6. "Ride the Wind" (Young) – 6:37

Sundazed 2008 ReissueEdit

  1. "Darkness, Darkness" (Jesse Colin Young) – 3:51
  2. "Smug" (Young) – 2:13
  3. "On Sir Francis Drake" (Lowell Levinger) – 6:44
  4. "Sunlight" (Young) – 3:07
  5. "Double Sunlight" (Levinger, Young, Joe Bauer) – 0:41
  6. "Beautiful" (Young) – 3:49
  7. "Turn It Over" (Levinger, Young, Bauer) – 0:15
  8. "Rain Song (Don't Let the Rain Bring You Down)" (Corbitt, Pappalardi, Collins) – 3:13
  9. "Trillium" (Levinger, Young, Bauer) – 3:08
  10. "Quicksand"* (Young) – 2:41
  11. "Black Mountain Breakdown" (Levinger, Young, Bauer) – 0:40
  12. "Sham"* (Young) – 2:44
  13. "Ride the Wind" (Young) – 6:37
  14. "Pool Hall Song" (Young) – 3:04
  15. "Beautiful" (Alternate Version) (Young) – 9:31


  • Jesse Colin Young – bass, lead vocals, acoustic guitar on "Sunlight"
  • Lowell "Banana" Levinger – guitar, backing vocals, electric piano
  • Joe Bauer – drums

Additional musiciansEdit

Additional personnelEdit

  • Charles E. Daniels (Charlie Daniels) – producer
  • The Youngbloods and Bob Cullen – producer (Tracks marked *. These two tracks were recorded prior to Jerry Corbitt's departure from the band.)
  • Richie Schmidt – engineer
  • Hank Cicalo – engineer
  • Mickey Crofford – engineer


Chart (1969) Peak
Billboard 118
Year Single Chart Position
1969 "Darkness, Darkness" Billboard Hot 100 124
"Sunlight" 114
1970 "Darkness, Darkness" 86


  1. ^ a b c Planer, Lindsay. "Elephant Mountain > Review". |publisher=AllMusic |access-date=August 29, 2011}}
  2. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (August 14, 1969). "Consumer Guide (3)". The Village Voice. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Bangs, Lester (July 12, 1969). "Records". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (37): 37. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  5. ^ Friskics-Warren, Bill (July 6, 2020). "Charlie Daniels, Fiddling Force in Country and Rock, Dies at 83". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 11, 2021.