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2:39 p.m. - January 05, 2008
Is That Freedom Rock, Man? Well, Turn It UP!
If you are a person of a certain age (my age, maybe a five year swing or so) and watched a lot of cable TV in the late 80ís, you certainly remember this commercial.

Well, turn it up indeed!

So after my man Moose sent me that link, I decided to see how much of Freedom Rock I had in my collection. It turns out that I had 32 of the 40 songs, and going on iTunes I was able to buy six of the remaining eight. One of them came album only, and the other is just not available digitally. Iíve tried on eMusic too, and itís not there. Hey, Mr. Rights Holder, it was on FREEDOM ROCK! Let us turn that song UP!

I never bought the actual collection, though. Ah, well.

So, I thought, why not give everyone a nostalgia trip and tell them what was on Freedom Rock in what running order, and determine whether it indeed fit the concept of Freedom Rock, or was it merely freedom or rock, or just a charade in entirety. This is based on the 2CD set running order. I think the 4LP and 3 tape running order was different, and Iím disappointed itís not in 8-track. Ah, well.

Since most everyone knows these songs, I think, then I wonít link to clips, etc.

Disc 1

1. Turn! Turn! Turn! Ė The Byrds. Ah, a solid choice to begin any collection. The chiming 12-string Rickenbacker and strong bass line announces this song with authority, and the ethereal vocals of the Byrds make it an instant classic. Itís a socially conscious tune as well, coming from Pete Seeger and Ecclisiastes. It definitely fits the bill of Freedom Rock. Solid!

2. Iíd Love To Change The World Ė Ten Years After. The name of this band always struck me as funny. Ten years after WHAT, pray tell? Some of you remember their great performance in Woodstock where Alvin Lee just shreds his guitar during ďIím Going Home.Ē I always loved the way the Woodstock announcer said ďTen Years AfterĒ as well. This is their only big Top 40 hit in the USA, and it is definitely Freedom Rock.

3. Locomotive Breath Ė Jethro Tull. I have had a jones for Tull lately, especially the more rockiní cuts. This is definitely a rockiní cut from Aqualung, and the radio edit scrubbed out the line ďgot him by the ballsĒ and replaced it with ďfunĒ. Heh. However, as much of Rock as it is, I donít really see much freedom here, just a lot of Ian Andersonís semi-nonsensical symbolic babbling.

4. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down Ė Joan Baez. The Band did the original, but Baez made it a radio fave. It was her arrangement that we sang in fifth grade, in an introduction to symbolism. I really canít get around her vibrato, though. My weakness, I guess. And while this is definitely Freedom, thereís not much rock. Itís definitely more adult folk.

5. War Ė Edwin Starr. I guess this fits in the running order. Actually, Jethro Tull is a little out of place here. War! HUUUUH! What is it good for? Absolutely NOTHINí! Good God, Yíall! An outstanding song thatís definitely about Freedom but is all soul, all the time. That still doesnít mean you shouldnít crank it!

6. Black Magic Woman Ė Santana. Early Santana is the best, with cohesive ideas and tasteful playing from the entire ensemble. Carlos makes this Peter Green song his own. Itís definitely Rock, but is it freedom? I dunno. Unless itís freedom to have a black magic woman on retainer.

7. Jump Into The Fire Ė Harry Nilsson. Iíll have to admit, Iím not that familiar with this at all. In fact, I never heard it before acquiring the songs to complete this collection. On listening to it, it is definitely Freedom Rock, but itís kind of obscure. Of course, ďCoconutĒ wouldnít have fit (and actually, neither would ďYouíre Breaking My HeartĒ, but thatís for totally different reasons).

8. Smoke On The Water Ė Deep Purple. Oh, man. Now weíre talkiní! I think I just caused the room to vibrate because I did, indeed, TURN IT UP! Itís all Rock, but I canít hear freedom. What I hear is them talking about some stupid with a flare gun.

9. United We Stand ĖBrotherhood Of Man. Oh, wow. Now thereís a transition! From Deep Purple to this weenie, wimpy, hippy-dippy song that you know from commercials for the United Way or something or other. Yick. Freedom, yes, but in no way shape or form is it rock. Fail.

10. One Tin Soldier (The Legend Of Billy Jack) Ė Coven. I think we all need a group singalong for this one. Ready? ďGo and hate your neighborÖĒ Itís Freedom for sure, but this ainít rock Ė not even talc.

11. Somebody To Love Ė Jefferson Airplane. Everyone can sing along to this to, and do the frug, or watusi, or whatever. This is a killer tune, of course, and itís definitely Rock. I canít give it total freedom, though, though the era was all about freedom, the song itself isnít, per se.

12. Going Up The Country Ė Canned Heat. Now everyone can whistle along to the flute part. This song is a lot better than people give it credit for, but if it pains me to sing the falsetto all the time. Iím calling this Freedom Rock because itís all about going where you wanna go, man. Far out.

13. Reach Out Of The Darkness Ė Friend And Lover. I had this 45 (inherited from my sister) but itís not available anywhere except on the Friend And Lover CD. So you can experience the thrill of playing the record, just like I did back in the day. I canít really call this rock Ė itís more slick pop with a great hook. Iím calling it Freedom, barely. Itís telling you all to reach out and find friends. So yeah, it kinda fits.

14. A Horse With No Name Ė America. You know this song, but you donít know what the HELL it means, do ya? What I do know is that itís the best Neil Young (in the CSNY era) ever. I canít call it rock, and I guess itís Freedom only because I donít know what it really means but it may be deep and theyíre in the desert and all.

15. Free Bird Ė Lynyrd Skynyrd. This is the dictionary definition of Freedom Rock. Nuff said. Now excuse me while I play air guitarÖ

16. Rambliní Man Ė The Allman Brothers. Moose said that the commercial for Freedom Rock is so ingrained that he knew exactly what song snippets fit where. I always thought this should have begun the collection, anyway. Freedom Rock! Heís a rambliní man.

17. Share The Land Ė The Guess Who. This is post-Randy Bachman, when they kind of softened up a bit but still squeezed out some hits in this hippy-dippy mode. Iím almost of a mind to karaoke this. Itís still a good example of Freedom Rock.

18. Friends Ė Elton John. This was created for a movie soundtrack, and it never really was on a proper Elton John album. It was a hit, but people have forgotten about it. Itís not really rock (itís in the Elton John softer ballad motif) but if I called Friend and Lover freedom, I have to call this Freedom too, since if your friends are there everythingís all right.

19. Put Your Hand In The Hand Ė Ocean. Yet another sing-along for everyone, and I think I can call it Freedom, but rock? Nope. Not as such.

20. Black And White Ė Three Dog Night. The ink is black, the page is white. Etc. etc. My mom liked Three Dog Night so I canít call it really rock, but this can be called Freedom. As a kid, I liked this, but now I much prefer Sly Stoneís ďDonít Call Me Nigger, WhiteyĒ but I doubt if that could be released nowadays.

Disc 2

21. Layla Ė Derek And The Dominoes. Actually, I suppose that the commercial starts with the recognizable guitar riff from this song. However, I donít associate the commercial with it, whilst with ďRambliní ManĒ the first thing I think of is Freedom Rock. This, of course, is Rock, but as far as freedom goes, I canít call it freedom. Even in the 60ís, bagginí your best friendsí wife was pretty much a no-no.

22. The Story In Your Eyes Ė The Moody Blues. The Moodyís had some good tunes, and some absolute dreck. I think the drugs turned off their editor, because they really piled it on when developing inane concept albums. Still, everyone once in a while theyíd pull off a great tune like this one. Itís Rock, but I donít think it falls into the freedom category, but itís definitely of that time.

23. Signs Ė Five Man Electrical Band. Another sing-a-long, of course. They were a pretty decent bunch of Canadians that really deserved more hits, but alas, that didnít happen. And now, most people know this from a third-rate hair band. For me, the electric piano sells this one. Itís all Freedom Rock, baby!

24. Sunshine Ė Jonathan Edwards. ďHe canít even run his own life; Iíll be damned if heíll run mine,Ē is one of the best lines ever. Edwards was more of a folkie, but for attitude alone, I qualify this as Freedom Rock!

25. Love Train Ė OíJays. People all over the world, join in! You canít help but move to the OíJays! This has the social conscious, for sure, so itís Freedom but again, like Edwin Starr, this is soul (proto-disco, in fact) and not rock. Still, you gotta boogie!

26. White Room Ė Cream. Now, pardon me for being me, but I think they really cribbed this song from their own ďTales Of Brave UlyssesĒ, really. Take a close listen to both of them. It doesnít make it bad, because it does Rock! As far as freedom Ė no dice. I canít make head or tails out of tired starlings, and stations, and black curtains, and I donít want to take the acid to try and find out what it meant.

27. White Rabbit Ė Jefferson Airplane. This is the part of the program where we just take a trip and mellow out. Rock, yes, but an allegory using Alice In Wonderland isnít freedom Ė itís seventh grade English. Still, itís a cool arrangement, ya knowÖ

28. Both Sides Now Ė Judi Collins. And now, weíre coming DOWN from the trip. Oh, this isnít CLOSE to rock, but Iíll give it some Freedom points, since Judi is looking at clouds, etc. from both sides now, as you know.

29. We May Never Pass This Way Again Ė Seals And Crofts. This song makes me weepy at times. Yeah, itís sappy, but itís heartfelt. Itís not rock at all, but Iíll give it Freedom because itís two people going where they wanna go, Iím assuming.

30. In The Year 2525 Ė Zager And Evans. Many wags have said this is one of the worst songs ever to hit #1, and yeah, itís pretty darn cheesy and predictable and I can definitely see how people got snowed under and bought it in enough quantity for it to be a hit. Itís Freedom, and as far as rock goes, I know rock, and you, Zager and Evans, are no rock.

31. Eighteen Ė Alice Cooper. OK, now, take a look at the last three songs, and now we move to ALICE COOPER? Holy paradigm shift without a clutch! I think it made more sense on the album, but the CD transition would be jarring. One of the classic songs about youth in rock-and-roll history, this is definitely Freedom Rock.

32. Hush Ė Deep Purple. I donít understand why Deep Purpleís not in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, but what do I know, Iím just a music geek fanboy. Jon Lordís organ is powerful because he puts it through a Marshall instead of a Leslie. The more you know. Rock for sure, itís not really freedom.

33. Get Together Ė The Youngbloods. Yet another campfire sing-a-long for us all. Itís not the hardest song in the world, and is in fact more of a country song than anything, but because of the tasteful guitar Iím calling it Freedom Rock and you canít change my mind.

34. The Beat Goes On Ė Sonny & Cher. Sonny without a moustache. Cher with her real face. A bass line thatís to die for. But itís not rock Ė itís pretty slick adult pop. And freedom? No, I canít say that it is. Itís about how the more things change, the more they stay the same. La-de-da-de-de.

35. Abraham, Martin, and John Ė Dion. Nope, I donít have this in my collection. You can only buy it via album only. So, hereís the song and a video. Out of respect for Dionís past accomplishments, Iím calling this Freedom Rock.

36. Lay Down (Candles In The Rain) Ė Melanie. This was one of the hits that came on the heels of Woodstock, though I really think the appeal was more from the forceful chorus by the Edwin Hawkins Singers than Melanie. The only other thing of note was ďBrand New KeyĒ, which could be a song about roller skating, and could be a song about SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY. Because of the Woodstock thing, itís Freedom but itís more gospel than anything.

37. I Got A Line On You Ė Spirit. Spirit is one of those underrated bands from the 60ís that released a lot of great stuff but modern rock radio only focuses on one or two songs, if that. They also were pretty long-lived, as Jay Ferguson had some hits, and two other guys were in the first incarnation of Heart. This is Rock, but not so much freedom. Still, crank it!

38. Fire And Rain Ė James Taylor. Oh, James, you put me to sleep with your manly, mellow drone. So it ainít rock, and I donít think I can call it freedom, really. Sorry, James. Say hi to Kate and Livingston.

39. Me And You And A Dog Named Boo Ė Lobo. Ok, this is Freedom, since heís traveliní and liviní off the land and love beiní a free man. But rock? Surely you jest. Living up here now, I have yet to see a wheat field IN St. Paul. Not even during the State Fair.

40. (Sittiní On) The Dock Of The Bay Ė Otis Redding. One of the best songs in the history of recorded music, I am calling this Freedom Rock even though itís soul. But itís Otis Redding, people. He can sing the phone book and make it sound great.

So, are you ready to TURN IT UP? Iím sure you are!!! I am. Rock and roll, hoochie Koo!

Oh, wait, thatís not on thisÖ

 

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