This is Arlo Guthrie very early in his musical career live at Gerdes Folk City, Greenwich Village, New York City, back in 1966. Founded by Mike Porco and regarded by many as the original Centre of Folk Music, (a coffeehouse in Greenwich Village where everyone who was anyone in folk music used to play) you can find out more about this long gone venue here.
This recording features an early live version of Alice's Restaurant where the spoken part is totally different from the eventual album version, with nothing about the littering or the draft, but just an ad-lib about how the song would spread all over the world once the crowd at Gerdes that night started singing it.
Arlo Guthrie was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of folk singer and composer Woody Guthrie and his wife Marjorie Mazia Guthrie. Regarding his most famous work "Alice's Restaurant Massacree", a talking blues song that lasts 18 minutes and 34 seconds in its original recorded version, Arlo Guthrie has pointed out that this was also the exact length of one of the famous gaps in Richard Nixon's Watergate tapes. He has been known to spin the story out to forty-five minutes in concert. The Alice in the song is Alice Brock, who had been librarian at Arlo's boarding school in town before opening her restaurant, and who now runs an art gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
The song lampoons the Vietnam War draft. However, Guthrie stated in a 2009 interview with Ron Bennington that the song is more an "anti-stupidity" song than an anti-war song, adding that it is based on a true incident. In the song, Guthrie is called up for a draft examination, and rejected as unfit for military service as a result of a criminal record consisting in its entirety of a single arrest, court appearance, fine, and clean-up order for littering and creating a public nuisance on Thanksgiving Day in 1965, when Arlo was 18 years old. Alice and her restaurant make up the recurrent refrain, but barely figure in the story. On the DVD commentary for the 1969 movie, Guthrie states that the events presented in the song all actually happened.
For a short period of time after its release in 1967, "Alice's Restaurant" was heavily played on U.S. college and counter-culture radio stations. It became a symbol of the late 1960s and for many it defined an attitude and lifestyle that were lived out across the country in the ensuing years. Its leisurely, sassy finger-picking acoustic guitar and rambling lyrics were widely memorized and played by irreverent youth. Many stations across the States have made playing "Alice's Restaurant" a Thanksgiving Day tradition.
A 1969 film, directed and co-written by Arthur Penn, was based on the true story told in the song, but with the addition of a large number of fictional scenes. This film, also called Alice's Restaurant, featured Arlo portraying himself. The part of his father Woody Guthrie, who had died in 1967, was played by an actor, Joseph Boley. Despite its popularity, the song "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" is not always featured on the set list of any given performance.
Sound Quality: Good mono mp3@192kbps.
Genre: Folk, blues.
Set: Full set.
1. Alice's Restaurant
3. Buffalo Skinners
5. Try Me One More Time
7. Roll On, Columbia
9. San Francisco Bay Blues
Web: Official HERE.
Reloaded August 2015 see comments.