Easy Rider, by Various Artists

notes on a record


In the selection of songs included, the album remained admirably faithful to the film. All tracks were original — with one significant exception. Perhaps the strongest and most complex in terms of the lyrics and their presentation, The Band's "The Weight,"  was presented only in a cover version, done by The Smiths. Admirable as a cover version, yet too mellow, it was a far cry from the tense performance of Robertson, Danko, Helm, Manuel, and Hudson.

The first stanza of the song, in particular, is a gem of road literature.

I pulled into Nazareth I was feelin about half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
Hey mister can you tell me where a man might find a bed
He just grinned and shook my hand, and "No" was all he said

Take a load of any
Take a load for free
Take a load of any,
And you put the load right on me

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The Band, "The Weight"
from The Rock of Ages
(recorded live at the New York Academy of Music, Dec. 31, 1971)

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