Song Lyric Sunday — Mountain — “Theme For An Imaginary Western”

Before I checked Jim Adams’ page, some part of my brain must have realized this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme — Cowboy / Gun / Hat / Horse / Western — because for days my interior stereo has been looping Mountain’s “Theme For An Imaginary Western,” sometimes called “Theme From An Imaginary Western.” This beautiful song, in my opinion, outshines Mountain’s better-known “Mississippi Queen.”  (Full disclosure: I may be biased because Mountain’s album played continuously during the first frat party I experienced at college, and the drunken debauchery was quite shocking to my proper Catholic School upbringing. Plus…..tequila.)

Written by Jack Bruce (music) and Peter Brown (lyrics), Brown has said his lyrics were inspired by one of Bruce’s early bands, The Graham Bond Organisation, which Brown described as “a mixture of pioneers and outlaws.” He may have gotten that impression from the fights (sometimes on-stage and physical) between bassist Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. Bruce and Baker must have made up their differences to some extent because they later formed Cream with Eric Clapton. When Cream broke up in 1968, Bruce released his first solo album in 1969, “Songs for a Tailor,” on which “Theme For An Imaginary Western” debuted. Mountain performed the song  at Woodstock in 1969, and a year later, featured it on their album, “Climbing.”

Because Mountain’s version is better known (and my favorite), that video comes first. The second is a gem: Jack Bruce, accompanied only by piano.


Theme for an Imaginary Western
When the wagons leave the city
for the forest and further on
Painted wagons of the morning
dusty roads where they have gone
Sometimes travelling through the darkness
met the summer coming home
Fallen faces by the wayside
looked as if they might have known

O the sun was in their eyes
and the desert that dries
In the country town
where the laughter sounds

O the dancing and the singing
O the music when they played
O the fires that they started
O the girls with no regret
Sometimes they found it
Sometimes they kept it
Often lost it on the way
Fought each other to possess it
Sometimes died in sight of day




Compiled from,  SongFacts and Wikipedia articles on Mountain, Jack Bruce, and “Theme For An Imaginary Western.”




7 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Mountain — “Theme For An Imaginary Western”

  1. This one is a keeper and understand why you love it. I think “Mississippi Queen” did Mountain a disservice, as I never bothered to look beyond it to see what beautiful music I missed. Because of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock I was looking at the playlist and saw how many songs Mountain sang and began to think maybe check out what else they do. Your choice gives me a first listen. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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