Thursday, November 26, 2015

Fun-frillled-Friay on Thursdasy (Alice's Restaurant for Thanksgiving).

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Original Album Cover

Alice's Restaurant, the great 60's song that lasts 18 minutes and takes up a whole side of the Album; it's the 50th anniversary of it's release. The song has become an unofficial anthem for Thanksgiving, because it's about what happened after the Thanksgiving day feat 1968. Half the radio stations in the country will play it today. The song was Written by Arlo Guthrie, son of the legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie (wrote "This Land Is Your Land").

The song is really about what happened to Arlo when he was drafted, but that was colored by the events of the previous Thanksgiving. This was the height of Vietnam war so the song became a major anti-war song. For those who have never heard the song, the big thing bout it is it's hilarious. Arlo had a real comedic talent. He wasn't the greatest singer, his guitar is good, but he was the Seinfeld of folksongs. The song is comparable to the movie Godspell and other media artifacts of the counter culture in it's laid back humor oriented approach to mocking authority and casually making a serious statement. I would also associate it with the movie Mash for that reason. The first season of the tv Mash, though great by tv standards was a pale watered down version of that sort of style..

Arlo and a friend went to a school (in the movie he's in first year of college, but I'm not sure in real life if it wasn't high school) and two of his teachers, Alice somebody and husband, bought a church and remodeled it to be a home and Restaurant. Arlo says "we would sneak away from school and go there and do what we did in the 60's." We know he does not mean protest. They were going to Thanksgiving at the Restaurant but had to clean the place up before they could make the feast;. It was the junck from the remodeling. The dump was closed so they had to dump the garbage on private land and were charged with littering. When he was drafted they turned him down because of that arrest. There was a movie made about it, it was a huge hit. Arlo acted in the movie. he's not a bad actor, he as playing himself.

The memories are flooding back. The feel of the times. Revolution was in the air. We questioned everything. All wasted in a stooper of pot smoke. I remember we used to swipe paregoric from a friend's father, he took it for his back surgery. We soaked Cigarettes in it, dried them, smoked them, wonderful opium high. I stopped doing that when I got saved because I have prayer. Prayer is a million times better. Pot doesn't love you back. The first time I smoked it I was working at a job where we drove around the city soliciting articles of clothing and stuff for a thrift store. People leave it out, we pick it up. Between areas we got high. I was so scared. The cool hipsters I worked with kept saying, "be cool, cops can sense fear." "Just like dogs," I said. Prayer is definitely better than degradation and jail time. I know some connections doing jail time.

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Arlo too has turned to God. The restaurant he bought several years ago, saved it from being torn down, and turned it into a spiritual center, so it is a place of God again. He said "anyone can come to the thanksgiving feast the only requirement is be hungry."

Hear the song

see the movie

1 comment:

Joe Hinman said...

Arlo did a 50th anniversary special last night, PBS. It was good. He said kids today hear his song and go "what's the draft? why didn't you want to go to Vietnam?"
He says "the selective service allowed you to serve America and if you didn't know how they would help you. They would pick a service for you."