Elephant Mountain

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Elephant Mountain
Studio album by The Youngbloods
Released 1969
Recorded RCA's Music Center of the World in Hollywood, California.
Genre Folk rock
Length 40:06
Label RCA Victor 4150
Producer Charlie Daniels, The Youngbloods, Bob Cullen
The Youngbloods chronology
Earth Music
(1967)Earth Music1967
Elephant Mountain
Rock Festival
(1970)Rock Festival1970
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

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]


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. Young's songwriting ranges from jazzy acoustic ballads ("Sunlight" and "Ride the Wind"), to country/folk pop ("Smug" and "Beautiful") and bluesy hard rock ("Sham"). "Darkness, Darkness" and "Quicksand" are songs dealing with depression and suicide, quite at odds with the optimistic to happy-go-lucky image of the band created by songs like "Get Together" and "Grizzly Bear" (though not unlike other early songs such as "All My Dreams Blue" and "Foolin' Around"). The four tracks credited to Young, Banana, and Bauer are all instrumentals.

Levinger's "On Sir Francis Drake" is another instrumental named after Sir Francis Drake Boulevard of Marin County to 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 remaining song on the album 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, even though uncredited in the liner notes, performs "on a couple of Elephant Mountain tracks, notably signing the vocal with Young on Smug".

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

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

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).


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[3]

In a retrospective review for Allmusic, Lindsay Planer praises the album, feeling that it "contains some of the band's strongest material to date".[2]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  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 two[edit]

  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 Reissue[edit]

  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 musicians[edit]

Additional Personnel[edit]

  • Charles E. Daniels (Charlie Daniels) – producer
  • The Youngbloods and Bob Cullen – producer (Tracks marked *. These three 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. ^ The Youngbloods, Elephant Mountain Retrieved May 20, 2015
  2. ^ a b Planer, Lindsay. "Elephant Mountain > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ Bangs, Lester (12 July 1969). "Records". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (37): 37. Retrieved 25 August 2015.