Alice’s Restaurant, plus turkey and gathering songs for Thanksgiving
Written by Randy Black on November 24, 2015
Viking Twang Episode 66, November 24, 2015
Good morning, welcome to Viking Twang Episode 66. My name is Randy Black, happy to be here on this gorgeous fall day. It’s just two days until Thanksgiving, and it’s a tradition to play the ultimate song of thanks for this occasion: Alice’s Restaurant, a sad tale of crime and redemption. That will come around in the guitar in the second set, and I know that you’ll all want to stick around for that.
In the third set, we’ll play a bunch of songs celebrating most people’s favorite Thanksgiving dish, turkey, with one vegetarian song snuck in there. But first, we’re going to celebrate gathering together for the holiday. Here’s Dolly Parton to kick it off:
1 – Turkey Red; W.C. Beck & the Portland Country Underground.
2 – You All Come; Dolly Parton. From her 1970 album, A Real Live Dolly; written in 1953 by Arlie Duff.
3 – Have A Feast Here Tonight; The Monroe Brothers. From their last session together in January, 1938
4 – Come For Your Dinner; Frederick McQueen. The great Bahamian singer; this was recorded in 1965 as part of a session by the extended Joseph Spence community.
5 – Dance All Night; Arthur Smith with the McGee Brothers. Mike Seeger recorded fiddler Arthur Smith, with Kirk McGee on banjo and Sam McGee on fiddle, in 1957 for this Folkways. The song goes back to a 1924 recording by Gid Tanner and Riley Puckett.
6 – How Can We Thank Him For What He Has Done; The Stanley Brothers. Carter wrote that song the night before it was recorded in February, 1959.
7 – Come On Up to the House; Tom Waits. From his 1999 album, Mule Variations.
On Thanksgiving Day 1965, 50 years from tomorrow, an 18-year-old folk singer named Arlo Guthrie got arrested for littering. He turned that into a song that has become a Thanksgiving classic among people in my generation. So here it is, the whole sad story:
8 – Alice’s Restaurant; Arlo Guthrie
Thanksgiving is typically celebrated by eating turkey, and we have a whole set of turkey songs. But first, the Holy Modal Rounders have an alternative:
9 – Hot Corn, Cold Corn; Holy Modal Rounders. A Bill Monroe song that Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber recorded in 1964.
10 – Turkey In the Straw; Bill Monroe and Doc Watson. That was recorded in August 1966 at the New Jersey home of the great fiddler Tex Logan.
11 – Crippled Turkey; Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys. This is from an album called “For The Last Time,” recorded in 1973 with Leon McAuliffe and Leon Rausch leading a reunion of the band and Merle Haggard providing guest vocals. Bob attended and sang on the first day of the sessions, but had a stroke that night and died two years later.
12 – Turkey in the Pea Patch; Squirrel Butter. Our favorite old-time duo from Seattle; Charlie Beck and Charmaine Slaven, from their 2011 album, Banjo Clog.
13 – Turkey Buzzard; John Hartford. From his final album, Hamilton Ironworks, in 2001.
14 – Turkey Tracks; Foghorn String Band. Our local favorites, from their 2004 album, Reap What You Sow.
15 – Turkey Trot; Satan’s Pilgrims. The great Portland surf band; from their 1995 album, At Home With Satan’s Pilgrims.
16 – Son of Turkey Red; W.C. Beck and the Portland Country Underground; the sequel to our theme song, from the 2013 album, Quivera.