Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This Article Is About The Song 'Alice's Restaurant Massacree,' But 'Alice's Restaurant Massacree' Is Not The Name Of The Article, Just The Song

In the 48 years since Arlo Guthrie recorded "Alice's Restaurant," the 18-plus minute song has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition -- and an ode to a simpler time even if its subtext is the Vietnam War.
If you haven't heard "Alice's Restaurant," then you probably don't know that it's not really a song, but rather an 18-minute monologue with a little singing at the beginning and end, as well as some ragtime guitar picking.  The subtext to the subtext is that back in the day, American boys could avoid being drafted to fight in the controversial and deeply immoral war if convicted of a crime, in Guthrie's case, littering -- leaving garbage at a quaint New England village's dump when it was closed.  The song . . . er, monologue was an enormous countercultural hit in the late 1960s. 
We have been listening to "Alice's Restaurant" courtesy of the wonderful Helen Leicht for many years at noon EST on Thanksgiving Day on WXPN-FM in Philadelphia.  Tune in here and enjoy!

2 comments:

Elizabeth Wickersham said...

A slight correct about the dumping of the garbage;

Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the
dump saying, "Closed on Thanksgiving." And we had never heard of a dump
closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off
into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.
We didn't find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the
side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the
cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile
is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we
decided to throw ours down.

Elizabeth Wickersham said...

I love Arlo Guthrie's way of storytelling through song. I saw him at the Grand Opera House a few years and really enjoyed how of his show was based on storytelling and engaging the audience.