Easy Rider [Expanded]
This two-CD expanded version of the Easy Rider soundtrack actually is more like the original soundtrack joined by a second CD of similar music than a solid two CDs of music actually heard in, or even related to, the classic 1969 film. The first CD does indeed present the original soundtrack -- nothing more, nothing less -- which has an assortment of good late-'60s rock appropriate to the themes and moods of the movie. The second CD, with 19 cuts and 67 minutes of music, is actually a good half-hour longer than the soundtrack, offering more classic countercultural (but pretty popular) rock from the same era. The concept might be a little tenuous, to say the least -- it's basically an excuse to build a two-CD oldies compilation around. For a marketing ploy, though, it must be admitted that the music's pretty bitchin'. The actual soundtrack material on disc one balances well-known performers (Steppenwolf, the Byrds, Jimi Hendrix) with relatively little-heard items by lesser-known psychedelic acts (the Holy Modal Rounders' "If You Want to Be a Bird," Fraternity of Man's "Don't Bogart Me," and the Electric Prunes' "Kyrie Eleison"), even if only one cut (Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild") was an actual hit. Too, the original soundtrack benefits from two fine Roger McGuinn performances, a cover of Bob Dylan's "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" and "Ballad of Easy Rider." Disc two is a more conventional assortment of classic rock from the psychedelic era, including its share of massive hits -- the Electric Prunes' "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)," Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," the Who's "I Can See for Miles," the Rascals' "Groovin'," Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale," the Chambers Brothers' "The Time Has Come Today," the Youngbloods' "Get Together," and Thunderclap Newman's "Something in the Air." It also has the Band's version of "The Weight," which though used in the film could not be included on the original soundtrack LP for contractual reasons (a cover of the song by Smith was used in its place). Nothing on disc two's actually obscure, but there are a few cuts you won't hear often or ever on commercial classic rock or oldies radio, including the Flying Burrito Brothers' "My Uncle" and Richie Havens' "High Flyin' Bird." It all makes for a very good package of some of the more adventurous but popular music of the psychedelic era, though there's not much here to tempt specialized collectors.