Wednesday, September 12, 2007


by Mark Cappelletty

Alice Cooper “Eighteen”
Harry Nilsson “Jump Into The Fire”

The greatest music commercial ever:

Everyone remembers this ad. And nothing says” Dirty Hippie” like the two stoners in the clambake van pitching four records, four cassettes or two CDs full of music that’s not particularly patriotic and, frankly, not even that much rock. You assume that you’ll get your “Rambling Man” and your “Free Bird” and a smattering of other late ‘60’s/early ‘70’s album-rock favorites.

But while the set delivers expected conversion-van smokers like “White Room,” “Smoke On The Water,” “White Rabbit” and “Black Magic Woman,” most of the selections are shockingly weak. What self-respecting pothead busted out with The O’Jays’ “Love Train” while driving down I-75 carrying a load of primo Humboldt County smoke? What counter-culture revolutionary gave the finger to The Man while blasting Seals & Crofts’ “We May Never Pass This Way Again”? What tie-dye stained flower child tuned in or dropped out to the positively unpsychedelic melodies of Elton John or Dion?

The ad doesn’t even get their hippies straight-- the over-hyper dude on the left is way too clean-looking — I bet he doesn’t even stink of patchouli — while the other looks like he got lost on the way to a Jimmy Buffet concert. These clowns are no Randee Of The Redwoods.

As for the songs above, they’re the best of the bunch on this album. Face it— do you really want to listen to Joan Baez’s rendition of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”? Neither is really traditional “Freedom Rock,” unless you count Mr. Rosso’s rendition of the Cooper hit on the classic Freaks & Geeks or the fact that the Nilsson song — best used during Ray Liotta’s cocaine freak-out in Goodfellas — sounds like an approximation of a really bad trip. This is MY Freedom Rock. And don’t forget to turn it up. Man.

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