The sleeve of The Byrds, Ballad of Easy Rider (1969) was given a thorough revision for the Japanese market. This version outperforms the OST, but I still ‘dig’ the design of the standard version of the Byrds’ somewhat brazen exploitation of the film’s popularity …
John Buck Wilkin, In Search Of Food Clothing Shelter And Sex (Liberty, 1970)
Liberty spared no expense on packaging Wilkin’s album, gatefold with lyric and portrait inner. Hopper gets a thank you in the acknowledgements. I’m guessing there wasn’t enough original material to produce a soundtrack for The Last Movie, which used music recorded in performance and on location, so this is as close as we have to one, with ‘Bobbie McGee’ and ‘My God and I’ shared between album and film.
Wilkin appears to be wearing the poncho Hopper wore in the movie, and the locations mimic the desert junkyard theme at the beginning of Easy Rider and in countless biker movies.
Wilkin had once played in Ronny and the Daytonas and made one more album after this.
With the release of The Last Movie on blu-ray, I’ve been listening again to the OST of American Dreamer . Both soundtracks feature John Buck Wilkin, who appears in a cameo with Kris Kristofferson singing ‘Me & Bobby McGee.’ Wilkin’s mum was the Nashville songwriter and publisher Marijohn Wilkin, by this short route John Buck got hold of KK’s most famous song and delivered the first recording of it on his debut long player, In Search of Food Clothing Shelter and Sex (Liberty 1970). That album also contained ‘My God and I’, another song that found a home on The Last Movie.
Clive Hodgson’s review in Frendz #30 is pretty dismissive of American Dreamer and takes particular aim at the film’s producer, Lawrence Schiller, due to his exploitation of the Tate murder.
Schiller though was a good photographer and many of his images of Hopper provide the booklet illustrations that accompany the recent Light In The Attic re-issue of the OST. The vinyl edition is limited to 1000 copies, you can probably get the original (w/ poster) for less than it is selling on eBay.
Despite the wonderful packaging and that essential poster, the bottom line is that OST is feeble, only Gene Clark shines (of course he does).
#1082 of 3000 is the one I’ve got . . . a really fine package from Indicator with a stand out transfer of the film, superb extras, a fold-out poster, and a booklet with an Alex Cox essay and some great locations stills . . . colour me happy
Just because she hasn’t got any running water or electricity doesn’t mean she doesn’t want nice things. Right now it’s a General Electric refrigerator. Like a jazz drummer, Stella Garcia performance as Maria is never off the beat. She always hits her mark regardless of whatever nonsense is going down.
For much of the film, and in the documentary American Dreamer, Hopper wears a Lee 101J denim jacket and jeans. No one ever looked better in that combination, but this variation on a trucker jacket in heavy suede and rounded leather collar is pretty special, as is the blanket coat with fur collar that he wears while prospecting with Neville. When The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is your guide to getting the gold you gotta look your best.
“Art work” by Ed Roth … what’s that mean? the bikes? Perhaps the vandalism done to Hopper’s Levi’s 507 jacket … who’d cut the sleeves off the jacket Martin Sheen wore in Badlands? Still, at least he’s not wearing a brand new trucker with hacked off sleeves that John Casavettes sports in Devil’s Angels … I guess, Big Daddy blessed the production with the patches - swastikas, Maltese crosses, and gang names and emblems - Henchmen, Jokers, Glory Stompers and, Dennis’s gang, Black Souls … Saundra Gale plays Hopper’s momma in a costume that makes her look like she just jumped straight out of a 50s beatnik movie …
The Glory Stompers (AIP 1968), starring Dennis “Baby” Hopper … Opens and closes with a kickstarter … The fly-eye end credits are well worth riding to the finale for …and that Ed Roth credit …
Dennis Hopper, an American Dreamer armed with an FN FAL; a Taos New Mexico resident’s weapon of choice …
Dennis Hopper, cowboy philosopher: lesson #2
What is good, bad, right and wrong? There are only 1 through 9 numbers. There are no fractions. You either like or dislike, which is weak. You either love or you hate.
Sleeve notes accompanying the “Original Sound Track from The American Dreamer (1971)