The Best of Arlo Guthrie
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"The Best of Arlo Guthrie" contains the artist's touchstones: Steve Goodman's bittersweet "City of New Orleans" (featuring Crusader Wilton Felder on bass; the late songwriter no doubt would have been amused by its recent inclusion in a laxative commercial), the Woodstock anthem "Coming Into Los Angeles," the silly sing-a-long "Motorcycle Song" (which Guthrie prefaces by saying, "It's amazing that someone could get away with singing a song this dumb for that long,")
Then you get the evergreen "Alice's Restaurant Masacree." A decade before Elvis Costello sneered, "I used to be disgusted/now I try to be amused," Guthrie turned two then-common hippie brushes with authority into a moving, absurd masterpiece. It satirizes small town/big country bureaucracy too well to spin only every third Thursday in November. Yet thankfully, Guthrie's consistent performances and devotion to folk style (incorporating gospel and political protest music within it, always with humor) kept this anthem from swallowing his career as 1971's long and winding "American Pie" did Don McLean's.
"Alice's Restauarant Massacree" is essential to any Sixties collection, and this set is the most cost-effective way to get it. New fans should then check out 1967's original "Alice's Restaurant," Guthrie's duet LPs with Pete Seeger, or 1976's "Amigo" for the best from this second-generation folk icon.
Few people remember Arlo Guthrie...but he remains a genius ahead of his time. Well worth checking out and certainly worth the investment.
Here our perpetually young and impish Mr. Guthrie shows all of his sides, sometimes serious, often impish, and always sporting a twinkle in his eyes, from the silly and perhaps immortal "Alice's Restaurant", Arlo's true (if somewhat embellished) account of how the irony of the "Establishment's" bureaucratic rules inadvertently allowed him to avoid the military draft to the equally diverting and amusing "Motorcycle Song" or as we who love it refer to it, "The Pickle Song". He shows his more serious side with wonderful entries like "Darkest Hours" and "City Of New Orleans". Probably the greatest thing about most of these songs is that they weave their way into your subconscious memory, so you may find yourself humming or singing one of them involuntarily next time you're in the shower and feeling pretty good about the world.
My biggest regret concerning this album is that the lovely ballad "Massachusetts" about his adopted state, as well as the evocative "Manzanillo Bay" about that unspoiled seaside Mexican paradise, are not included here. Both of these songs are from his virtually unknown but spectacular album "Amigo".Read more ›
Overall, an intelligently selected single disc anthology that will satisfy the casual fan.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is just what we knew it was, we just wish it had a few more songs.Published 18 days ago by Normal Joe
Maybe I've outgrown Arlo's humor (or maybe it's because I'm not high) but I find this compilation disappointing. Read morePublished 1 month ago by RestlessBoomer
Love it Great C/D. It isn't Thanksgiving without Alices Restaraunt!!! And my husbands favorite The Pickle.Published 2 months ago by Nancy Horne