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|Pete Townshend||Composer, Producer|
|John "Speedy" Keen||Composer|
|Billy Edd Wheeler||Composer|
|Abe "Voco" Kesh||Producer|
|The Young Rascals||Producer|
|Hugh Mendi||Executive Producer|
|Bud Scoppa||Liner Notes|
|Pat Lawrence||Executive Producer|
|Ryan Null||Photo Coordination|
|Michele Horie||Art Manager|
Posted October 1, 2010
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Has it really been forty years since this landmark movie first came out? It was many things to many people: a hippie film, a road movie, a drug trip and an American tragedy. The soundtrack to "Easy Rider", now available in a special deluxe edition, captures the spirit of that movie and celebrates it, very much the way the "Woodstock" documentary did that year.
From the rumbling opening of Steppenwolf's "The Pusher" and "Born To Be Wild", the soundtrack draws us into the late Sixties counterculture. Roger McGuinn and The Byrds (who were close friends of the film's star and producer, Peter Fonda) play a big role in this album and their closing track, "The Ballad Of Easy Rider" (complete with motorcycle crashing sound effects) is still memorably haunting. Some of the songs are more-than-dated, particularly "If You Wanna Be A Bird", which is perhaps the most tuneless and least listenable song on the record. However, you can't argue with the power of Jimi Hendrix's "If Six Was Nine" or The Electric Prunes' "Kryie Eleison".
For added measure, there is also a second-disc that features great garage rock from The Seeds ("Pushing Too Hard") and Blues Magoos ("We Ain't Got Nothing Yet") as well as the beginnings of prog-rock from Procol Harum ("A Whiter Shade Of Pale") and The Moody Blues ("Nights In White Satin"). While the soundtrack still has Smith's version of Robbie Robertson's "The Weight", fans will be happy to know that this version also contains The Band's original version of that song---finally. Although most of the songs range towards the obvious, there are some surprises, such as "My Uncle", a terrific draft-dodger ode by The Flying Burrito Brothers and "Something In The Air", a magnificent one-off by Thunderclap Newman.
Using popular songs on motion picture soundtracks is almost a given these days. Yet, one has to remember that there was a time when that was pretty damn hard to do in the first place. About twenty years ago, Nike was using "Revolution" by The Beatles to sell sneakers, which is now practically commonplace. The songs on "Easy Rider" were being used to tell a story, plain and simple.
Posted October 1, 2010
In some ways it's fitting that the soundtrack to this landmark film has suffered a series of legal hassles from The Man. In its original 1969 vinyl release, it was denied the film's use of The Band's "The Weight" (by the band's then-label Capitol), and a sound-alike cover by Smith was issued in its place. More recently, the soundtrack was withheld from domestic CD reissue, squeaking out a European version many years before MCA's 2000 digital issue. The latter reunited The Band with their film-mates, at the expense of altering the original Smith-bred artifact. Hip-O's deluxe two-disc reissue provides the best of both worlds – including both versions of "The Weight" – and filling out a second disc of contemporaneous radio hits. ¶ The original soundtrack is a five-star release on its own, brilliantly capturing the flavor of the film and its times with a carefully selected set of music, and augmented with snippets of sound and dialogue. Many of these songs were, or became, period classics, burned into everyone's consciousness by endless radio play; but what really makes the album great are the non-hit tracks. Beyond the collection of well-worn hits are more unusual inclusions: The Holy Modal Rounders' lunatic old-timey "If You Want to be a Bird (Bird Song)," Fraternity of Man's stoner country "Don't Bogart That Joint" and The Electric Prunes' reverb-drenched psychedelic mass "Kyrie Ellison." Roger McGuinn's cover of Dylan's "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" and his original "Ballad of Easy Rider" close out the original track lineup with a helping of paranoia, dissolution and salvation. ¶ Disc two adds 19 period selections that flesh out the country's growing acid-paranoia, from the independence-minded garage punk of The Seeds and psychedelic trippings of the Electric Prunes and Jefferson Airplane, to the reactionary folk of Richie Havens and The Youngbloods, and heavy-metal acid freak-out of Blue Cheer. Nearly all of this will be very familiar to those weaned on the era's radio, as well as those who've bought other late-60s anthologies. The Band's original version of "The Weight," omitted from the original soundtrack, is a bonus; the rest of the disc, which, unsurprisingly, plays more like an anthology than a film soundtrack, is superfluous in contrast to the original soundtrack.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.