Thanksgiving arrives with must-haves: For some, that agency family, football, a array and turkey with all the trimmings.
But for others, the fourth Thursday of November is not complete until they’ve heard an 18-minute, 20-second, spoken-word song about littering, agitable policing, the abstract and a long-ago “Thanksgiving banquet that couldn’t be beat.”
To them, Thanksgiving’s not Thanksgiving until they’ve heard Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant.”
They tune in to archetypal bedrock stations over the airwaves, via internet or on accessory radio to beam at the applesauce of his shaggy-dog story, to curiosity at how Guthrie weaves it over a affable guitar. They adulation abutting in on the chorus.
“You can get annihilation you appetite at Alice’s Restaurant.”
They tune in to apprehend all about how Arlo and his acquaintance were arrested for littering in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on Thanksgiving weekend 1965.
Rick Robbins was that friend. (And co-defendant.) He still is that friend.
Now 75, Robbins still can’t accept that every November bodies appetite to allocution about a brainless affair he did aback he was a 19-year-old alone absorbed in guitars and girls.
He grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York, the son of a World War II basal soldier, but abounding the Stockbridge Academy for one year, area he met adolescent apprentice Guthrie and Alice and Ray Brock, who were on the agents at the clandestine school.
Rick Robbins, 75, at The Guthrie Centermost in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, on Nov. 14, 2021. Singer-songwriter Robbins is a constant acquaintance of singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie and was with Guthrie, on Thanksgiving Day 1965 and thenabouts, aback the contest that aggressive Guthrie’s song “Alice’s Restaurant” took place. Both men now alive not far from The Guthrie Center, which Arlo purchased in 1991 and committed to his parents, Woody and Marjorie Guthrie.
That “Alice” Thanksgiving in 1965, Guthrie, 18, and Robbins, 19, had banquet at Alice and Ray’s house, in the kitchen, which was in the basal attic of their deconsecrated church’s alarm tower.
When Ray bare advice charwoman up the ample abbey hall, Guthrie and Robbins loaded up Ray’s red VW Microbus with debris — which Robbins contends was not domiciliary garbage, but was furniture, debris of copse and agenda — and collection in the administration of the boondocks dump, alone to acquisition the dump bankrupt for Thanksgiving.
“The basal band is we were a brace of impaired kids from the burghal and didn’t apperceive annihilation about depression because in the city, a debris barter comes and takes your debris away,” Robbins said. “Not to accomplish any excuses, but we aloof didn’t apperceive any better.”
Not alive any better, they dumped the debris in a makeshift auctioning armpit that Guthrie knew about, abreast a music summer affected he had attended.
Someone saw. Someone told. And the badge came calling. Robbins and Guthrie were arrested and fined $50 and ordered (by a dark judge, really) to aces up all the trash: the actuality they had dumped and the actuality that was there aback they dumped the actuality they dumped.
For a brace of years afterwards that Thanksgiving, Guthrie talked about the adventure on stage, acclaim strumming his guitar as the adventure got best and longer. Then he sang it alive on Bob Fass’ late-night appearance on Brooklyn’s WBAI, “Radio Unnameable,” and anon “Alice’s Restaurant” became a attitude at the station. And beyond.
In 1967, Guthrie, the son of folk figure Woody Guthrie, recorded it as the absolute aboriginal ancillary of his aboriginal album, blue-blooded “Alice’s Restaurant,” although the song’s abounding appellation is “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.”
The anthology fabricated it to No. 17 on the Billboard archive and has aback gone platinum, affairs added than 1 actor copies.
In 2014, Guthrie told Rolling Stone annual he never advised to address a Thanksgiving song.
“I anticipate it’s aloof one of those funny, crazy coincidences that you accept an accident that takes abode on Thanksgiving, accordingly it becomes associated with the holiday,” he said. “If I go aback and attending at the hits to the website for example, they will fasten one day a year. I consistently thought, ‘Hey if they’re gonna comedy one song of castigation on the radio one day a year, it ability as able-bodied be the longest one you wrote!’”
And comedy it they do.
In an age aback Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well” makes account for abiding a analogously paltry 10 minutes, and aback Pandora, Spotify and YouTube put any song a bang away, “Alice’s Restaurant” charcoal an 18-minute arrangement listen, with archetypal bedrock stations beyond the country ambience abreast time every Thanksgiving for the event, about at noon.
It will comedy on several SiriusXM accessory radio channels over the anniversary weekend (Deep Tracks, Archetypal Vinyl, The Village). Mojo Nixon will comedy it at 7 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel.
Jimmy Fink, a adept New York disc jockey who formed for WPLJ and WXRK, said Westchester’s WXPK, The Peak 107.1 will advertisement “Alice’s Restaurant” bristles times over the continued anniversary weekend. The 18-minute song is arrangement listening, alike in an age aback Spotify and Pandora put songs at our fingertips.
The Radio Survivor blog archive planned airings of “Alice” on accessory and earthbound stations that aftermost year continued from Philadelphia (WXPN) to Chicago (WXRT and WDRV), from Louisville, Kentucky, (WXOX) to Boston (WERS and WUMB), from Fordham University in the Bronx (WFUV) to Denver’s KBCO. “Alice” is additionally a attitude at KSLX in Phoenix.
For decades, it was a attitude on KFOG in San Francisco and the aboriginal WBAI in Brooklyn, but both stations accept folded. Now, abounding admirers of those stations about-face to accessory radio or to a tiny base in Westchester County, New York — WXPK “The Peak” 107.1, at www.1071thepeak.com — area NYC radio adept Jimmy Fink holds forth. Fink was a accoutrement on allegorical New York bedrock stations WPLJ and WXRK area the Guthrie song played anniversary Thanksgiving.
This year, admirers to “The Peak” will get bristles heaping helpings of the song, Fink said.
It will comedy on the eve of the holiday, as allotment of the station’s [email protected] block of songs at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Wednesday, at apex and 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and on the Weekend Replay of the [email protected] on Sunday afterwards Thanksgiving at about 6 p.m., he said.
“I’m appealing abiding bodies will get aggregate they appetite at Alice’s Restaurant from The Peak this year,” Fink said, apery the addictive chorus.
Keith Olsen in his Central Nyack home talking about how arena Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” has become a Thanksgiving tradition. He memorized the lyrics, on a bet, aback he was in aerial school.
In Nyack, New York, Keith Olsen — a “Sesame Street” prop man — committed “Alice’s Restaurant” to anamnesis 41 years ago, aback he was in aerial school.
He remembers sitting in the children’s allowance at Palisades Public Library, endlessly and starting the band recorder and autograph bottomward the lyrics longhand, decades afore YouTube fabricated things easy.
This year, Olsen will accept a acceptable Thanksgiving with his parents, cousins, wife Moriah and one of his two daughters.
They’ll watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Array and, at noon, as the meal basic continues, he’ll about-face on “The Peak” and apprehend Guthrie sing “Alice” afresh on the radio.
Later, he’ll aces up his guitar and comedy it for his ancestors and friends, whether they’re with him in actuality or, of late, on a Zoom screen.
“I did it already at a Thanksgiving acquisition and that was it,” Olsen said. “It became, ‘That’s why you allure Keith.’ You allure Moriah because she cooks accomplished and Keith will accompany a guitar,” he said.
“It was consistently like a transition, bodies sitting about and ‘Oh, appear on. Let’s comedy “Alice’s Restaurant.”‘ Then it would about-face into a sing-along for the blow of the night.”
It is a beef song, Olsen said.
“There’s a accuracy that still resonates through that song that’s still basic today. There’s still bodies who will use you or let you be acclimated for their purposes if they can. Aback you footfall aback and you attending at the truth, it’s like: ‘You appetite to apperceive if I’ll go into the boscage and annihilate women, houses and villages afterwards actuality a litterbug.’ That so encapsulates the applesauce of what it was and continues to be.”
Somehow, all the lyrics break in his head, as continued as he doesn’t anticipate about his guitar-playing. But there has been a acknowledgment to the crumbling process.
“It’s become beforehand in the day in contempo years due to the accumulated furnishings of turkey and wine,” he said. “Remembering 18 account of chat is not absolutely as accessible as it acclimated to be.”
Arlo Guthrie performs at the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival at Bethel Woods Centermost for the Arts on August 15, 2019. The man abaft “Alice’s Restaurant” appear aftermost year that his canicule assuming accept appear to an end and he is “going fishing.” He lives on a acreage in the Berkshires, not far from area the contest declared in “Alice’s Restaurant” took place.
Rick Robbins still marvels at the continued song’s longevity, that it still somehow manages to accomplish the account every Thanksgiving.
“Alice” additionally became a 1969 affection film, of which Robbins is acutely not a fan, adage there’s 15 account of accuracy in it.
“The accomplished adventure was commodity that for abounding years, I never absolutely associated myself with,” Robbins said, continuing at The Guthrie Center, the Brock’s above home, which Guthrie bought in 1991 and angry into a association centermost committed to his parents, Woody and Marjorie.
“People didn’t anticipate that I had annihilation to do with it because they fabricated that movie, and the guy who played my allotment was a acquaintance of mine, Geoff Outlaw.”
That fabricated it easier for Robbins to ambit himself from his besom with alone law.
“If you were acclaimed for auctioning garbage, you ability try to adumbrate it yourself, you know?” he said. Then, with argot durably buried in cheek, he added: “I’d acquaint people, ‘Arlo broke my career. I capital to be a sanitation artisan in New York, but they wouldn’t appoint me because I had a confidence for littering.'”
Despite their besom with the bounded badge aback they were teenagers, both Robbins and Guthrie still alive in the Berkshires, aural a few afar on either ancillary of “the arena of the crime.” Guthrie, who chock-full assuming aftermost year, is 74; Robbins, a singer-songwriter who still performs, is 75.
Robbins couldn’t abide accepting a little fun at the amount of the acquaintance whose career was catapulted by their Thanksgiving efforts.
“He never thanked me for allowance to dump that garbage,” Robbins said, laughing. “I never got a acknowledge you for that.”
Reach Peter D. Kramer, a 33-year staffer, at [email protected] or on Twitter at @PeterKramer.
This commodity originally appeared on New York State Team: Arlo Guthrie’s ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ song is a Thanksgiving tradition
How To Write A Song For Kids – How To Write A Song For Kids
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