Archive for Arlo Guthrie

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Arlo Guthrie & ‘Alice’s Restaurant’

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , on November 17, 2012 by 30daysout

Editor’s Note: From a blog post appearing originally in 2010. This is a classic! The album, not the blog post.

We have dusted off some of our own all-time favorite albums from our own collection, and today we want to share one that’s perfect for the Thanksgiving holiday – Alice’s Restaurant, from Arlo Guthrie.

The title song is of course an American classic – and a song played by many radio stations on Thanksgiving Day.  It’s a true story about a 1965 Thanksgiving when Arlo, the son of legendary songwriter and folksinger Woody Guthrie, and his friends were arrested for littering.  He eventually turned the tale into a story-song that ends with a timely protest sentiment, and … well, I’m sure you have heard it.

Guthrie debuted “Alice’s Restaurant” at the Newport Folk Festival, then he played it on NYC public radio station WBAI in the spring of 1967.  The station was flooded with requests for replays of the song and played it more often than anything else – later, during their annual fundraiser, station personnel promised to play it if a certain amount of money was pledged and later, to NOT play it if a certain amount was pledged.

Anyhow, Guthrie himself tinkered with the format of the song and even occasionally performed a “sequel” – titled “The Alice’s Restaurant Multi-Colored Rainbow Roach Affair,” he played it a few times live on WBAI.  Reprise Records officially released the LP Alice’s Restaurant in 1967 with the original “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” recorded live someplace.   The song clocks in at over 18 minutes and takes up the entire Side One of the record.  Even though hip FM stations played it, Reprise inexplicably released a shorter version on single.  Titled “Alice’s Rock and Roll Restaurant” and produced by Van Dyke Parks, this one took a few verses from the song and placed it over a generic blues-rock beat and completely changed the feel and intent of the song.

Flip over the album and there are six songs that are if not more conventional, at least they fit the folk rock style of the era.  “Chilling of the Evening” is a ballad with instrumentation more typically found on an album by any of the then-current pop singers of the day, like maybe Glen Campbell or Jim Nabors.  “I’m Going Home” and “Highway In The Wind” are both songs with a Byrds-like feel, and “Ring Around A Rosie Rag” is a bit of hippie jug-band nonsense but good fun nevertheless.   And of course, there’s the first chapter of “The Motorcycle Song,” which had its own sequels (including one on the 1968 followup LP Arlo).

Shortly after Guthrie appeared at Woodstock in 1969, he showed up in the Arthur Penn-directed movie Alice’s Restaurant.  None of the performances on the original Alice’s Restaurant album were in the movie, but the film and the ensuing soundtrack featured a full-length studio version of the title song.  In 1995, Guthrie re-recorded the entire Alice’s Restaurant album, complete with an updated (and even LONGER) version of the title song.

Guthrie only occasionally performs “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” live these days, but on Thanksgiving Day you can almost certainly find a radio station playing that original version.

So let’s enjoy some of the other incarnations of “Alice’s Restaurant” as well as a couple other tunes off the original album.  Now Arlo has been nice enough to record many versions of his most famous song – we are thankful for that and don’t want to be greedy on Thanksgiving … so we’re going to stream most of ’em.  That way you can hear them all!

Listen: The original “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (1967)

MP3: “I’m Going Home”

MP3: “Ring Around A Rosie Rag”

MP3: “Highway In The Wind”

HOLIDAY BONUS: A harvest of “Alice’s Restaurant” versions and sequels!

MP3: “Alice’s Rock and Roll Restaurant” (1967 single)

MP3: “The Alice’s Restaurant Multi-Colored Rainbow Roach Affair” (1967 radio performance)

Listen: “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (studio version) (1969)

MP3: “Alice’s Restaurant (30 Years Later)” (1995)

Listen: “Remembering Alice” (2004)

Listen: “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree (40th anniversary)” (2005)

Arlo Guthrie, remembering “Alice’s Restaurant” on NPR’s “All Things Considered”

YouTube: The Group W bench from the movie Alice’s Restaurant

Arlo.net – The official Arlo Guthrie website

Blog tributes

The great music blog Aquarium Drunkard pays tribute to “Alice’s Restaurant”

Wow, That’s A Good Song: Arlo Guthrie – “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” from the blog How’s My Living?

From the movie.

Vinyl Tap Radio reviews the 1967 album

Squidoo has an illustrated version of the original “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”

Marketing Calls has the printed lyrics

Hippie Chick tells the story in great detail

Suite 101 gets to the truth behind the story of “Alice’s Restaurant”

Celebrate Your Freedom

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by 30daysout

We are taking a few days off to celebrate our country’s birthday and if you are an astute reader, you will know this is simply last year’s July 4 post with a few different songs tossed in.

Wherever you are, take a few moments to appreciate your freedom – and remember there are still places in the world where armed thugs can kick down your door and drag you away just for reading this blog.  Celebrate freedom this weekend, and let it ring around the world.

You are welcome to enjoy the enclosed music at your summer party.  See ya!

MP3: “Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze” (live at Woodstock) by Jimi Hendrix

MP3: “American Idiot” (live) by Green Day

MP3: “Freedom Blues” by Little Richard

MP3: “Do You Remember the Americans” (alternate track) by Manassas

MP3: “Promised Land” by Chuck Berry

MP3: “Fourth of July” by Dave Alvin

MP3: “Let’s Turn This Thing Around” by Peter Case

MP3: “Freedom” by Richie Havens (2009 version)

MP3: “Simple Song Of Freedom” by Tim Hardin (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “Every Hand In The Land” by Arlo Guthrie (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “That Ain’t My America” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

MP3: “Rednecks” by Randy Newman

MP3: “I Shall Be Free” by Bob Dylan

MP3: “Listen To Me” by Bill Miller

MP3: “Back In The U.S.A.” (live)  by Edgar Winter’s White Trash w/Rick Derringer

MP3: “Fourth of July” by Soundgarden

MP3: “American Tune” by Paul Simon

MP3: “America, Fuck Yeah”  by Team America, South Park or whatever

MP3: “Living In America” by James Brown

MP3: “Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream” by Johnny Cash

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Arlo Guthrie & an “Alice’s Restaurant” cornucopia

Posted in Rock Classics! with tags on November 18, 2011 by 30daysout

Editor’s Note: From a blog post appearing originally in 2010. This is a classic! The album, not the blog post.

We have dusted off some of our own all-time favorite albums from our own collection, and today we want to share one that’s perfect for the Thanksgiving holiday – Alice’s Restaurant, from Arlo Guthrie.

The title song is of course an American classic – and a song played by many radio stations on Thanksgiving Day.  It’s a true story about a 1965 Thanksgiving when Arlo, the son of legendary songwriter and folksinger Woody Guthrie, and his friends were arrested for littering.  He eventually turned the tale into a story-song that ends with a timely protest sentiment, and … well, I’m sure you have heard it.

Guthrie debuted “Alice’s Restaurant” at the Newport Folk Festival, then he played it on NYC public radio station WBAI in the spring of 1967.  The station was flooded with requests for replays of the song and played it more often than anything else – later, during their annual fundraiser, station personnel promised to play it if a certain amount of money was pledged and later, to NOT play it if a certain amount was pledged.

Anyhow, Guthrie himself tinkered with the format of the song and even occasionally performed a “sequel” – titled “The Alice’s Restaurant Multi-Colored Rainbow Roach Affair,” he played it a few times live on WBAI.  Reprise Records officially released the LP Alice’s Restaurant in 1967 with the original “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” recorded live someplace.   The song clocks in at over 18 minutes and takes up the entire Side One of the record.  Even though hip FM stations played it, Reprise inexplicably released a shorter version on single.  Titled “Alice’s Rock and Roll Restaurant” and produced by Van Dyke Parks, this one took a few verses from the song and placed it over a generic blues-rock beat and completely changed the feel and intent of the song.

Flip over the album and there are six songs that are if not more conventional, at least they fit the folk rock style of the era.  “Chilling of the Evening” is a ballad with instrumentation more typically found on an album by any of the then-current pop singers of the day, like maybe Glen Campbell or Jim Nabors.  “I’m Going Home” and “Highway In The Wind” are both songs with a Byrds-like feel, and “Ring Around A Rosie Rag” is a bit of hippie jug-band nonsense but good fun nevertheless.   And of course, there’s the first chapter of “The Motorcycle Song,” which had its own sequels (including one on the 1968 followup LP Arlo).

Shortly after Guthrie appeared at Woodstock in 1969, he showed up in the Arthur Penn-directed movie Alice’s Restaurant.  None of the performances on the original Alice’s Restaurant album were in the movie, but the film and the ensuing soundtrack featured a full-length studio version of the title song.  In 1995, Guthrie re-recorded the entire Alice’s Restaurant album, complete with an updated (and even LONGER) version of the title song.

Guthrie only occasionally performs “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” live these days, but on Thanksgiving Day you can almost certainly find a radio station playing that original version.

So let’s enjoy some of the other incarnations of “Alice’s Restaurant” as well as a couple other tunes off the original album.  Now Arlo has been nice enough to record many versions of his most famous song – we are thankful for that and don’t want to be greedy on Thanksgiving … so we’re going to stream most of ’em.  That way you can hear them all!

Listen: The original “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (1967)

MP3: “I’m Going Home”

MP3: “Ring Around A Rosie Rag”

MP3: “Highway In The Wind”

HOLIDAY BONUS: A harvest of “Alice’s Restaurant” versions and sequels!

MP3: “Alice’s Rock and Roll Restaurant” (1967 single)

MP3: “The Alice’s Restaurant Multi-Colored Rainbow Roach Affair” (1967 radio performance)

Listen: “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (studio version) (1969)

MP3: “Alice’s Restaurant (30 Years Later)” (1995)

Listen: “Remembering Alice” (2004)

Listen: “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree (40th anniversary)” (2005)

Arlo Guthrie, remembering “Alice’s Restaurant” on NPR’s “All Things Considered”

YouTube: The Group W bench from the movie Alice’s Restaurant

Arlo.net – The official Arlo Guthrie website

Blog tributes

The great music blog Aquarium Drunkard pays tribute to “Alice’s Restaurant”

Wow, That’s A Good Song: Arlo Guthrie – “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” from the blog How’s My Living?

Vinyl Tap Radio reviews the 1967 album

Squidoo has an illustrated version of the original “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”

Marketing Calls has the printed lyrics

Hippie Chick tells the story in great detail

Suite 101 gets to the truth behind the story of “Alice’s Restaurant”



Celebrate Your Freedom

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2011 by 30daysout

We are taking a few days off to celebrate our country’s birthday and if you are an astute reader, you will know this is simply last year’s July 4 post with a few extra songs tossed in.

Wherever you are, take a few moments to appreciate your freedom – and remember there are still places in the world where armed thugs can kick down your door and drag you away just for reading this blog.  Celebrate freedom this weekend, and let it ring around the world.

You are welcome to enjoy the enclosed music at your summer party.  See ya!

MP3: “Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze” (live at Woodstock) by Jimi Hendrix

MP3: “American Idiot” (live) by Green Day

MP3: “Do You Remember the Americans” (alternate track) by Manassas

MP3: “Red, White and Blue” (live) by Lynyrd Skynyrd

MP3: “Promised Land” by Chuck Berry

MP3: “Freedom” by Richie Havens (2009 version)

MP3: “Simple Song Of Freedom” by Tim Hardin (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “Every Hand In The Land” by Arlo Guthrie (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “I Shall Be Free” by Bob Dylan

MP3: “Back In The U.S.A.” (live)  by Edgar Winter’s White Trash w/Rick Derringer

MP3: “American Tune” by Paul Simon

MP3: “America, Fuck Yeah”  by Team America, South Park or whatever

MP3: “Living In America” by James Brown

MP3: “U. S. Blues” by the Grateful Dead

MP3: “Spirit Of America” by the Beach Boys

MP3: “Momma Miss America” by Paul McCartney

MP3: “Rockin’ In The Free World” (live) by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

MP3: “Free and Freaky (In The U.S.A.)” by the Stooges

MP3: “Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

MP3: “Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream” by Johnny Cash


Sampler Daze: WB/Reprise Loss Leaders, Part 9

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by 30daysout

RecordsLikeThis works

If you’ve been with us this long, you already know the Warner Bros./Reprise Loss Leaders series wasn’t about hit records – although the 1970s entries managed to have one or two hit singles on each sampler.  But with the coming of 1975’s I Didn’t Know They Still Made Records Like This, the label rolled out its big guns.  Of the 26 songs included on this two-LP set, six were bonafide Top 20 hits and a few others were FM radio staples.

And another thing about this one – it was aimed squarely at MOR audiences.  Singer/songwriters abound: James Taylor does his No. 5 “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” which was actually an old Motown song; Arlo Guthrie does the No. 18 hit “City Of New Orleans,” which was actually written by Steve Goodman; Gordon Lightfoot offers the No. 26 “Rainy Day People,” which was actually written by Gordon Lightfoot.  Add to that Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” (No. 11), Seals & Croft’s “I’ll Play For You” (No. 18) and the No. 1 smash “Then Came You,” by Dionne Warwick and the Spinners.  “I Can See Clearly Now,” a hit for reggae artist Johnny Nash, pops up here in a version by country singer Rex Allen Jr., the first appearance, I believe, on the Loss Leaders by an artist out of the Nashville stable.

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Sampler Daze: The WB/Reprise Loss Leaders All-Star Team

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2009 by 30daysout
arlo-guthrie-peacep01-ga

Arlo Guthrie

We take a short break from our exhaustive, year-by-year look at the Warner/Reprise Loss Leaders to cite a few of the artists who appeared throughout this series with great music.  We could call it our Loss Leaders All-Star Team.  Between 1969 and 1980, the label issued 35 samplers that were available to the public, and these artists were perennials.

Arlo Guthrie – Woody’s son made 13 appearances in the Loss Leaders series, appearing on the very first sampler in 1969 with “The Pause Of Mr. Claus,” a performance that features one of his trademark comedic rap/song combinations.  The best known of these is of course “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” the nearly-19-minute-long song that made Guthrie famous in 1967 and is played on hip radio stations every Thanksgiving.  Arlo hit the top 40 in 1972 with his version of Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans,” and he cut 14 albums for Warner Bros. before the label dropped him in 1983.

Randy Newman

Randy Newman

Randy Newman – Like Guthrie, Newman was one of those hard-to-market artists but he nevertheless earned a critical following when he first appeared in 1968.  Known for writing satiric songs (often from the point of view of a reprehensible character) with beautiful melodies, Newman actually penned hit songs for other artists (“Mama Told Me Not To Come” was a hit for Three Dog Night) and had a few hits of his own, including “Short People” (1977) and “I Love L.A.” (1983).  Newman is a runner-up to Arlo, with 12 appearances in the Loss Leaders series.

Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention – Zappa and/or his band made 11 total appearances in the Loss Leaders, they even gave him his own one-disc sampler in 1970 (Zapped) to showcase all the artists on his Bizarre/Straight labels.

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Sampler Daze: WB/Reprise Loss Leaders, Part 2

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by 30daysout

thebigball schlagers

I didn’t really think through how I was gonna do this series of blog posts: Warners released about 34 of these LP samplers between 1969 and 1980, sometimes springing three or four of ’em in one year.  I don’t have all of them, so maybe I will try and survey them year by year.  After the success of the first three samplers in 1969 (there was a single-disc collection we didn’t mention last time), Warners kept goin’ in the new decade with The Big Ball and Schlagers!

The label called these samplers “Loss Leaders” because while they obviously took some money and resources to produce and advertise, and they were selling them for a very cheap price (basically one buck an album) the company stood to lose money on the records.  But they were an awesome promotional tool: mixed in with songs that were already hits and soon-to-be hits were selections from artists on the label that were a little tough to market.  The samplers were a good way to put a taste of their tunes in listeners’ ears.  If not for the WB/Reprise samplers, I probably would not have heard people like Joni Mitchell, John Cale or the Youngbloods.  Samplers were certainly the first place I heard Little Feat, Black Sabbath and many others.

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Repost: Time To Do The Right Thing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by 30daysout

UPDATE: The Time is coming … time to pick a president.  We’re not going to tell you how to vote.  We are going to remind you it’s really important, though.  This appeared around the Fourth of July and we think it ought to go up again.  Listen to the tunes, do some research and make your choice. 

Sometimes it’s tough to figure out the world.  Why does everything cost so much, while human life seems so cheap?  Can we resolve our differences with other cultures without having to pick up a gun, or is it too late?  What is going to happen to us, to our children, and to their children?

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Lost Classics! Steve Goodman

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , on September 4, 2008 by 30daysout

Our hometown heroes the Houston Astros shut down the wild Wrigley Field crowds the past three days and possibly hastened the Chicago Cubs’ inevitable free fall.  Whenever I see the Cubs my mind always produces a flash of singer Steve Goodman. 

Goodman was a singer-songwriter of the 1970s, he was a familiar face to anyone who watched TV shows like “The Midnight Special” or “In Concert” (late-night ABC) or “Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert.”  Goodman was playing in Chicago in 1971 when he encountered Arlo Guthrie and forced Guthrie to listen to a song he’d written.  “City of New Orleans” was the song, and it went on to become a huge hit for Guthrie in 1972; later it would be covered by many others including Johnny Cash, John Denver, Judy Collins and Willie Nelson.

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