Friday, 28 November 2014

alice's restaurant - original 1967 recording

It's never occurred to most of us here in the UK how much of a Thanksgiving Day tradition Arlo Guthrie's 'Alice's Restaurant' has been for a whole generation in the States.
And sure, it's not exactly going to be top of the list of listening for most kids these days given the original recording is 14+ minutes long. Who has the time to listen these days, right? And anyway who today relates to the songs main subject, being faced with conscription?
By 1967 it was a very real prospect for thousands of young people across the country as news coverage of Vietnam became a daily intrusion.
Today only the archive newsreels recalls the horror.. the horror. Some fled it. Some ducked it. Some were lucky. Some never came home. And many protested.
The gathering momentum of young and by then older voices in protest eventually mattered. It wasn't just them that that brought the end, it never is but they were active voices that did matter. The attitude, the songs, the fight for their freedom were all wrapped up in something undefinable but unanimous. The end of the war. Peace and freedom.
Few spoken records capture that young voice and social climate of 1967 better than Guthrie's rambling tale of Thanksgiving and conscription.
It might seem there's not a whole lot of reasons to be thankful these days but not having conscription is most certainly one of them.
Here's the original 60's recording from the album of the same name.