In case you hadn’t heard, 2007 is the fortieth anniversary of 1967. Yeah, that seems kind of obvious, butlook at all the anniversaries we’re seeing this year:
The fortieth anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s.
The fortieth anniversary of the Red Sox’ Impossible Dream.
The fortieth anniversary of the summer of love. (Personally, I find it strange that we celebrate big events every five years starting ten years after. How much new perspective do we have between the 25th and 30th anniversaries of a classic album? Enough to warrant a wallet emptying reissue, it seems. I guess 20, 25 and 30 years out is peak nostalgia range…) But what about the other fortieth anniversaries? The formation of the ABA, Thurgood Marshall sworn in to the Supreme Court, The Monterey Pop Festival, Elvis and Prscilla get married! And what about the bad stuff? Shouldn’t we remember that stuff, too? Race riots in Newark and Detroit.
Che Guevara is captured and executed.
Woodie Guthrie’s dies of Huntington’s…
Clearly 1967 is an important year in our history, so allow me to talk about something I like from that year, something that relates to the premature passing of just-mentioned folk icon and ever-important human-being Woodie Guthrie: the emergence of his son, Arlo. Indeed, in 1967, Arlo released a pretty famous record called Alice’s Restaurant. Now, it would make sense to wait until Thanksgiving to talk about this record, seeing as it is set on that day and all, but the front of the Boston Globe Living & Arts section had a really nice fluff piece about Arlo today, so I thought I’d talk about him, too.
I saw Arlo perform a few years back, when I was living on Nantucket. He did the extended version of “Alice’s Restaurant Masacree.” No, not the 18 minute version from the record with the similar name, but a thirty some-odd minute version that included this interesting revelation: Apparently, the time of the original recording of the song and matches the amount of time missing from the Watergate tapes. There’s no way that Nixon had that record, though, right?
Wrong. Arlo claims to have seen it in the White Library when he was invited for the Carter Inauguration. So, decide for yourselves. In true Guthrian fashio, though, I’m off the topic. What I really came to talk about is Alice. And the restaurant. Actually, no, not that either.. I wanted to bring something up that Arlo is quoted as saying in this article:
“If you do anything for 40 years, you can do it comfortably… And it will always be good. But unless you’re willing to risk it being bad, it can never be great.”
I guess that’s what this 40 year thing is all about. But he’s right. Anyone can be good, but to be great, you have to risk being bad. That’s what Miss Fairchild is all about right now: taking risks and getting people involved. And when I say ‘involved,’ I don’t mean selling fans on some wack pyramid scheme. I mean that we’re buying low on this funk music thing because we believe that it’s ability to bring people together to participate in something is worth more than being a slave to the changing fashions of a so-called “modern” world.
Arlo Guthrie is an interesting figure. He is the son of an absolute legend, a one-hit wonder, an apparently tireless musical voice, a man that has embraced humor in a musical genre that doesn’t always take humor so seriously. (He was at Woodstock, too, so he was on the brain before I saw today’s paper…) So, as we celebrate ’67, it’s good to remember this guy as an important figure. “And all kinds of things…”