Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Arlo Guthrie "Motorcycle Song"

Thursday is Thanksgiving, so of course, we're going to play "Alice's Restaurant," and I got thinking about where I first heard Arlo Guthrie.

And if these details don't lock the story in time . . .

We were in a large, white Econoline van, parked in a driveway.

We listened on 8-Track.

We didn't really know what The Draft was.

We thought "Father Rapers" was perhaps the funniest thing we'd ever heard.

Yeah, it was 1978 and I was about 9 years old. My best 3rd-grade buddy and I would go out to his driveway and sit in his parents van and let that 8-Track play over and over and over.

I can't say that we understood the full implications of Arlo Guthrie's anti-Draft, anti-War epic. But we surely understood the humor.

Hilarious littering, overzealous authority figures, pencil graffiti on benches---those were things a 9 year old could understand.

By 1978, we were post-Vietnam, post-Draft, post-Protest periods. But because were were stuck in the 8-Track age, it meant that we couldn't do what kids before us (with 45s) and kids after us (with CDs and MP3s) could do.

We couldn't just play our favorite song over and over.

So instead, we listened to the whole thing. The whole "Best Of Arlo Guthrie." And that's why, for me, Arlo could never be an artist who's history is a single song. Or even a single pair of songs (because "City Of New Orleans" is at least equally known). And he wasn't an artist I associated with only Thanksgiving, until I started working in radio, decades later.

So enjoy this one today from Arlo. At least give the man TWO days a year . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

1 comment:

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