Got The Fever

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Arlo Guthrie

There are swarms of bloggers straining to be original on this Thanksgiving day, using terabytes of internet resources, years of accumulated music collecting, all for the purpose of finding songs related to eating, shopping for food, being stuffed or songs with the word turkey in them. God bless them for the devotion, energy and free time.

Despite reading pages and pages of these sites, you would think that the most obvious choice would be out there duplicated time and again. However, I didn’t find even one site with the Arlo Guthrie standard! What?

Recorded in 1967, (and also known as "Alice's Restaurant Massacree") Arlo tells the true story of how he went to a friend’s deconsecrated church (restaurant for the song) and after a Thanksgiving dinner put out the trash. Not realizing that the dump was closed, he and a friend were arrested for littering. Brought up two days later in front of a judge that was blind, and unable to see the photographs that the arresting officer had laboriously marked with circles and arrows showing the littler, they were eventually given a small fine.

Forwarding a bit in time from there, his arrest for littering caught up with him in front of the draft board when they included him on a bench reserved for convicted criminals. Ironically, he famously asks:

"I'm sittin here on the Group W bench 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough to join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug?"

I’m summerizing of course, but there’a a lot more of the history and lore of the song at the Wikipedia page for Alice’s Restaurant.

Nice side note is that the area where the song takes place is in absolutely beautiful Great Barrington, which is not too far from Old Sturbridge Village (rural colonial New England way of life tourist attraction).

Today, remember to be thankful for what you have been blessed with. Too many around you are secretly envious.
Alice’s Restaurant
From: Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant [1967]

Addendum: I’ve written again for WNEW. This time the Hidden Gems post is on Ellen Foley and Young Lust. Get over there and leave a comment!


  • Hey, thanks for this one, WZJN. I have as yet to listen to this album - although I've long intended to - so this "taster" is very welcome!

    By Blogger ib, at 5:50 PM  

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