In doing research for my previous post. I came across a reference to Alice’s Restaurant. I tried to think of some other extremely long songs and only American Pie and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida came to mind. Too long for radio play (except on holidays when everything is preprogrammed), we don’t get to experience these classics very often. So for all of you that haven’t listened to Alice’s Restaurant in the last 10 years, here it is.
(From wikipedia) On that Thanksgiving, November 25, 1965, the 18-year-old Guthrie and his friend Richard Robbins, 19, were hauled into jail for illegally dumping some of Alice’s garbage after discovering that the dump was closed for the holiday. Two days later they pleaded guilty in court before a blind judge, James E. Hannon; the song describes to ironic effect the arresting officer’s frustration at the judge being unable to see the “27 8-by-10 color glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us”. In the end, Guthrie and Robbins were fined $50 and told to pick up their garbage. The song goes on to describe Guthrie’s being called up for the draft, and the surreal bureaucracy at the New York City induction center on Whitehall Street. The punchline of the story’s denouement is that because of Guthrie’s criminal record for littering, he is first sent to the Group W Bench (where convicts wait) then outright rejected as unfit for military service.
Alice’s Restaurant – Part 1
Alice’s Restaurant – Part 2
I’ll bet if you actually listed to the whole thing, you have a big smile on your face now.