Most helpful positive review
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
An Incredible, Vastly Under-Rated Guthrie Masterpiece!
on July 9, 2000
I am often stunned to find how few people have ever listened to this wonderful album by Arlo Guthrie. Unlike any of his earlier work, which I also enjoy and listen to still quite often, this one work shows the incredible talent, diversity and intelligence of this sometimes slapstick and even vaudevillian singer. Arlo really is one of a kind, a true artist who often covers sour subjects with a sugary satirical style, thus making these bitter pills about life more tolerable and acceptable to discuss and think about.
Here our perpetually young and impish Mr. Guthrie is in full adult form, mature but still sporting a twinkle in his eyes, from the silly and engaging opener "Guabi Guabi" (anyone listening to it just about has to laugh at it, yet it is surprisingly durable and deceptively simple; you may find yourself humming or singing it involuntarily next time you're in the shower and feeling pretty good about the world) to the haunting "Darkest Hours" to the lovely ballad "Massachusetts" about his adopted state, to a plaintive "Manzanillo Bay" about that unspoiled seaside Mexican paradise, and a host of others, many of them off-beat and more than incidentally political, like "Victor Jara" and "Patriot's Dream".
This is indeed a quite under-appreciated and very special album by someone often assumed to be a lightweight because of his inordinate success with novelty songs like "Alice's Restaurant" and "The Motorcycle Song". Yet anyone familiar with Guthrie the man and his continuing good works in rural western Massachusetts as a sort of self-appointed one-man project on helping those in need, he is obviously much more than that, and anyone taking a close listen to this album will discover the true depths of his quite considerable singing and songwriting talents as well. Enjoy.