Alice’s Restaurant Massacree, and other songs of Thanksgiving

Written by on November 22, 2016

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Viking Twang Show 110, November 23, 2016
Good morning, welcome to Viking Twang Episode 110. Hope you’re not all freaking out too much about finals but are looking forward to the next two days off. Who in the world actually gets two days off in a row?

It’s Thanksgiving, the celebration of the day when, the story goes, Americans first fed hungry refugees, so we’re going to play the story of a young man persecuted by authority but who eventually outwitted his oppressors. Yes, we’re talking about Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant Massacree, which happened on Thanksgiving 1966, and recorded at the 1967 Newport Folk Festival. Here’s Arlo to tell you the story

1 – Turkey Red; W.C. Beck & the Portland Country Underground.
2 – Alice’s Restaurant Massacree; Arlo Guthrie.

For the rest of the show, we’re going to celebrate the spirit of family, fellowship, and food that this holiday brings by playing songs from a Thanksgiving playlist put together by our friends at Smithsonian Folkways. We’ll start with the Breaux Freres, who this holiday are home, sweet home.

3 – Home Sweet Home; Breaux Freres. Amadee, Ophy, and Clifford Breaux were Cajun-style musicians who recorded this in San Antonio in August 1934.
4 – Jesus, I’m Thankful; Kinsey West Singers. Or maybe called I’m Thankful Lord. Recorded in Gardi, Georgia, September, 27, 1971, during choir rehearsal at Smith Grove Baptist Church.
5 – My Mom’s Thanksgiving Dinner; Gil Slote and Children of New York P.S. 24. Slote and his class of sixth-graders recorded this original song in 1956.
6 – The Gift Outright; Irene Dailey and Martin Donegan. This Robert Frost composition is from an album of poems released in 1965 to commemorate the death of President John F. Kennedy 53 years ago this week. It’s read by New York actress Irene Dailey.
7 – I Am A Poor Pilgrim of Sorrow; Indian Bottom Association. This choir is from the Defeated Creek Church, an Old Baptist congregation in Linefork, Kentucky, recorded in 1997.
8 – Turkey in the Straw; Don Bryant and Pete Kuykendall. This is from a 1957 Folkways album called American Banjo – Tunes and Songs in Scruggs Style.
9 – Kentucky Waltz; David and Billie Rae Johnson. This is from North Carolina fiddler David Johnson and his father Billie Rae, released by Folkways in 1983.
10 – Have A Feast Here Tonight; Bill Monroe and Doc Watson. This comes from a time when Bill’s star was fading, at least for a while, and Doc was coming into his own. It’s from Jordan Hall in Boston in October, 1964.
11 – Froggy-Went-a-Courting; Jim Nollman and 300 Turkeys. This is from a 1982 album where Nollman used different species, including wolves and orcas, as part of the instrumentation. In this case, the backup singers were 300 turkeys!
12 – Till We Meet Again; Elizabeth Cotten. This was recorded by Toshi and Dan Seeger, Pete’s wife and son, in 1965.
13 – That Heavenly Home; The Kingfisher Trio. This is a family band of Jack, Betty, and Wesley Kingfisher from Oklahoma singing in the Cherokee language for a 2004 Folkways album of indigenous Americans singing Christian songs in their native language.
14 – Damos Gracias; Jose-Luis Orozco. This is from a 2015 childrens’ album named Comos Bien!, meant to help kids eat well, that plays each song in English and Spanish.
15 – Twang Theme; Countrypolitans.

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