Jesse Jarnow

“alice’s restaurant” – arlo guthrie

“Alice’s Restaurant” – Arlo Guthrie (download here)
from Alice’s Restaurant (1967)
released by Warner Reprise Records (buy)

(file expires November 27th)


On one hand, the film adaptation of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant,” directed by Arthur Penn, can be written off as a period piece. Starring a ridiculously young-looking 22-year old Arlo, there are confrontations between rednecks and longhairs, a dude playing Woody Guthrie in his deepest sickness, and a gaggle of super-stereotyped hippies.

On the other hand, though, it also shows remarkable foresight. Released in 1969, the same week as Woodstock, it is also brutal. There are overdoses, spotty runaway groupies, and domestic abusers. There is, in short, a complete collapse of the ’60s idealism that wouldn’t crumble on itself — at least in the fashionable terms of mainstream perception — for quite some time.

The story of the Alice’s Restaurant Thanksgiving Day Masacree — presumably what earned Guthrie the right to make a movie of it — takes up only a small chunk near the end. It’s great, for sure — it’s even got the real officer Obie as himself! — but it’s also quite striking how the song and the film hit totally different tones.

Anyway, it’s Thanksgiving week, and I figured people’d be searching for Alice. Here, once again, is the shitty-ass mp3 I downloaded in college. Enjoy.

1 Comment

  1. Randy Ray says: - reply

    We listen to this every year–including a memorable 2000 smoke-filled road trip to Big Sur. Started off with an old beater cassette copy and migrated to CD. This’ll do just fine on the iPod plugged into the home stereo. Thanks and Happy Holidays, Jesse.
    Randy