Records Revisited / Reviews

Records Revisited: Arlo Guthrie “Alice’s Restaurant”

Arlo Guthrie
Alice’s Restaurant

Droppin a needle on side one of Alice’s Restaurant is like letting a car loose on icy pavement. But if you have 18:37 to spare, then Arlo will tell you a story ’bout Thanksgiving and I’ll tell you my thoughts about the whole thing.

This article is called Record’s Revisited: Alice’s Restaurant, and it’s about Arlo, and the album, but “Alice’s Restaurant Massacre” is not the only song on the album, that’s just the name of the title track and that’s why he called the album, Alice’s Restaurant and he made a movie of it too.

It all started forty-four years ago, was in – 1967, when Arlo recorded the album in very little time with Fred Hellerman.  Now, Hellerman was a Weaver, and he produced Arlo’s album, but some of the songs don’t sound folky, they sound a little dated.  Still they’re good ’cause, not havin’ much room on a record after a talking- blues the length of six songs, there wasn’t much room for garbage, so overall they made a solid album.

You can get any genre you want on Alice’s Restaurant
You can hear anything you want on Alice’s Restaurant
Just look right on the album’s back
Just over half an hour with seven tracks
You can hear anything you want on Alice’s Restaurant

There’s no better song to listen to on Thanksgiving than “Alice’s Restaurant,” but the song’s not just about Thanksgiving, it’s about the draft. That’s what Arlo claims anyway, and he also claims 18:37 is the length of the gaps in the Watergate tapes, but that sounds nuts and I bet it’s really just the  the length of time it takes a family to gobble up a turkey and be done chewin’ by the time the end chorus comes and Arlo needs everyone to sing along.

But like I said, that isn’t the only song and they got all sorts of styles on here, where you listen and you get: vaudeville, showtunes, ragtime, folk and pop.  What I like the best are funnier songs, ’cause I’m an all American kid from Buffalo, NY who likes to laugh. Still, most of the other songs are different and as I hear  “Chilling of the Evening,” I wonder if it’s Donovan, but I know it’s just Arlo doin’ psychedelic folk.  Great song if a person’s on psychedelic drugs, because there’s just something about that organ that makes a person feel like they’re floating away on an acid trip.

But, what Kills it and I mean, I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILLS it, is “The Motorcycle Song,” because not only is it funny, but it’s catchy and it’s just one of Guthrie’s best songs.  Then of course, at the bottom of the album, there’s a nice little tune called “Highway In The Wind,” and it sounds like I’m on bicycle, ridin’ ‘round Upstate NY, on a fall day.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say, ‘cept Happy Thanksgiving from Turnstyled, Junkpiled.


Kids, this-review-had-19-sentences-463-words-if-you-wanna-know-details, and that’s what it was about, the Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come’s around on the guitar.

 We’re just waitin’ for it to come around is what we’re doing.  All right now.

You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant

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