1. Bunjo says

    Hey, I’m just coming down from a nostalgia high, thanks for the memories.

    We used to listen to this in 1969 in our student rooms in Loughborough (pronounced Lufbra) University in the UK. We were glad that the UK was not involved in Vietnam, and hated the idea of war.

    Other music we listened to included James Taylor, The Who, The Beatles, The Stones, Greatful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Iron Butterfly (especially Ina Dada Da Vida, long version), Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd and many other great bands of the time.

    There was strangely little drug taking going on at our University (it was a “Univesity of Technology”, the Art College was a separate campus) and not a great deal of “free love”. Still, we grew our hair long and wore flares.

    Happy Days.

  2. anomalous4 says

    Blake, you’re not alone. My best buddy is over at his brother’s for dinner, and he says this has been part of the festivities ever since it came out.

    This is a classic. Thanks, PZ!

  3. Ellen says

    Hah! Every week I play lecture related music for my class (I teach about BLM-managed public land, they hear three versions of Home on the Range – traditional, rap, and Klezmer). So the week before T-day, it is always Alice, Arlo, and Officer Obie.

    My husband and I don’t do T-day (we spent the day at the National Museum of the American Indian, aka the “other holocaust museum”). But we always do Alica, Arlo, and Officer Obie. It’s my husband’s only American tradition. I always tell him that they should have made him sing this song instead of taking that silly citizenship test. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I realized that he didn’t know it was a true story. May have to buy a copy of the movie…

  4. Martin Christensen says

    Shit… we used to sing that song as kids… in a Danish translation. Ye gods, what must you not think of our country!


  5. says

    I have a friend who recites that FROM MEMORY every Thanksgiving. I’m thankful he wasn’t around this year, cause frankly, it gets old. *lol* But seriously, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

  6. says

    Hm, we don’t have this Thanksgiving tradition in Europe, so I can’t really relate to your festive mood! ;) But enjoy!

    And, oh, thanks for this blog :)

  7. Marc Buhler says

    That made my thanksgiving! (There aren’t many reminders here in Sydney although the staff cafeteria did have a rather bland sliced “roast turkey” loaf with no trimmings to speak of.) He
    brought the song across the gap of time quite well. Ta.

    (signed) marc


  8. mary says

    Am I the only one who hates Arlo Guthrie because of his homophobic lyrics?

    By which I mean:

    Walk into the shrink wherever you are, just walk in, say, “Shrink, . . . you can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant”, and walk out.

    You know, if one person, just one person, does it, they may think he’s really sick and they won’t take him.

    And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them.

    And if three people do it! Can you imagine three people walkin’ in, singin’ a bar of “Alice’s Restaurant” and walkin’ out? They may think it’s an organization!

  9. Ellen says

    Mary – I think you need to read the word “faggots” in context – he’s talking about the military recruiters and THEIR attitudes, not his own. Just as the entire song mocks THE SYSTEM and THE MAN (OK, I am dating myself here), so too does that particular lyric. There is no one who typifies the value of folk music for the gentle washing away of hatred than Arlo Guthrie, and my beloved PPM.

  10. says

    What a pity that Mary hates him so much for the wording he used in his satirical song that she couldn’t listen to this recording and find out that he zapped that line and made it a highly topical reference to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Is his dissociation from that policy not explicit enough?

    But I’m being silly. What does the change have to do with anything? 30 years is not too long, and mybe 40 is hardly long enough, to hold a grudge against the use of language that’s now unacceptable. And what if he actually meant the remark unsatirically? Certainly a person could never change his attitudes in a mere 30 years, and if he did, you can’t be expected to forgive the old errors like some sort of Christian or something.

    Reminds me of an approximate-classate I met at a reunion some years ago, who had been given a management job that involved a programming project and — having no relevant technical background — wanted a source of information on such management work. Nobly holding my tongue about the stupidity of assigning such a job to the unprepared, or accepting it, I recommended the famous 1970s classic, just re-issued, The Mythical Man-Month.

    Like a shot, she cam back with “Well, I wouldn’t want to take advice from a book with name like that.” Sorry, mam, I can tell you about the realities of programming, but the realities of keeping one’s rhetoric up to date and ignoring any non-conforming information are just beyond me.

  11. says

    I took a break from playing Guitar Hero to watch this, and my first thought was that while the melody is simple enough, playing it for eighteen minutes straight without a drum solo would be a real test of endurance.