Can I get anything I want other than Alice's Restaurant?
August 13, 2007 6:11 PM   Subscribe

What modern protest song did I hear that reminded me of Arlo's "Alice's Restaurant?"

Very few details to throw out here, but Google fu has failed me. I heard it on the radio a while ago and for some reason I thought it was by 'James' because I think the artist or style reminded me of the song "Laid." Strangely, I haven't heard it since. Really, I think it was most like Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant, because it was meandering, catchy, fairly long and humorous at times, but I think it made direct mention of very modern events/ political issues, the iraq war, and maybe even GW Bush.
posted by conch soup to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Was it a male or female singer? Was there much instrumental to it, and if so, what instrument?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:13 PM on August 13, 2007

Response by poster: Male singer, but a fairly balanced, slightly folk-rock rock song. Other than that, details are pretty hazy. I did think it was unusually radio friendly and catchy for a modern overtly political song if that helps...
posted by conch soup at 6:15 PM on August 13, 2007

Response by poster: Oh, and I think there were periods where the singer talked, rather than sang a few lyrics-- very conversationally, almost storytelling.
posted by conch soup at 6:17 PM on August 13, 2007

Could it be something off Neil Young's latest album? Living with War.

Or maybe one of his older tunes: Rockin in the Free World?

Just throwing it out there, his voice is in the same register as Arlo Guthrie.. and James for the matter.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 6:34 PM on August 13, 2007

Another punt: Something's Gotta Give by the John Butler Trio.

Conversational, folksy, humorous at times, modern protest song.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 6:36 PM on August 13, 2007

the only thing I'm thinking of is "when the president talks to God" by Bright Eyes. it's very much in the mold of early Dylan- wouldn't really call it "humorous" though.

Also, Harry Shearer has a new album out. The song I heard on the radio was about Bush and was humorous, in the mind of the author at least.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:38 PM on August 13, 2007

Jeff Daniels did a great take off of Alice's Restaurant called "Recreational Vehicle"... not a protest song, but a great little piece of art...
posted by HuronBob at 6:43 PM on August 13, 2007

Something by John McCutcheon, perhaps? He does a lot of talky folksy political stuff.
posted by cmyk at 6:51 PM on August 13, 2007

Maybe Jacobs Ladder by Chumbawamba?
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:54 PM on August 13, 2007

Response by poster: All great sugestions, and some awesome songs, but no matches. Like Alice's restaurant wasn't an overt "protest song," but was unusually specific about modern events- it could probably be enjoyed by those not on the far left too...
posted by conch soup at 7:05 PM on August 13, 2007

Did he sound British? Could it have been Billy Bragg?
posted by maudlin at 7:20 PM on August 13, 2007

Response by poster: Didn't sound British that I can recall- I think the song felt pretty amercanish.
posted by conch soup at 7:28 PM on August 13, 2007

Your description reminds me of some of the older, mellower Against Me! stuff.
posted by nitsuj at 7:37 PM on August 13, 2007

Doubtful, but Tom Waits' Road to Peace? (dont know what the movie is but the audio is right)
posted by neustile at 7:55 PM on August 13, 2007

Off-topic, but related...from the Boston Globe last week:
18 Minutes and 40 Years Later
"In 1967, Arlo Guthrie was a hippie folkie doing what pleased him. Now he has four grown kids and a bunch of grandkids -- and life hasn't changed much."
Audio: Arlo Guthrie talks about the genesis of "Alice's Restaurant"*
posted by ericb at 8:26 PM on August 13, 2007

I'm betting Eve of Destruction. Sounds like it was written and produced today.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:35 PM on August 13, 2007

Could it have been on Rock Against Bush I or II?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:46 PM on August 13, 2007

"Meandering, catchy, fairly long and humorous" accurately describes the songs of Dan Bern. Even if it wasn't he, if you like Arlo, you will probably like Dan Bern.
posted by jocelmeow at 9:07 PM on August 13, 2007

It might MIGHT be Muse, one of the songs from their album "Absolution." The one I'm thinking of is called "Take a Bow" ...and of course now I can't find it on the track listing for that album. But check out that song. It's not exactly folk-y but it might be what you're thinkin' of!
posted by slyboots421 at 6:19 AM on August 14, 2007

I heard this on the radio yesterday and thought the same thing re: Alice's Restaurant! But I was just getting out of the car and couldn't listen to it all, so I don't know the name. I will keep my ears peeled, as the radio here is pretty repetitive...and if all else fails, I'll call the station.
posted by lhall at 7:18 AM on August 14, 2007

Perhaps it was "Can't Make it Here Anymore" by James McMurtry?

link: mp3 download from his label
posted by Seamus at 8:30 AM on August 14, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks lhall, I'll check back to see if you find out what it was.
Seamus- that's pretty darn close; mystery song was a little more upbeat/ positive/ cooky, but I'm getting some great songs out of this thread! thanks all.
aeschenkarnos - I'm having trouble listening to the clips off of Rock against Bush on my mac- I'll listen if I can find those posted elsewhere.
posted by conch soup at 7:29 PM on August 14, 2007

wild guess: "When the president talks to god" by Bright Eyes
posted by softlord at 10:26 PM on August 14, 2007

Maybe "The Road I Must Travel" by Nightwatchmen?
posted by lisaici at 9:14 AM on August 15, 2007

16 Military Wives, by the Decemberists?
posted by 235w103 at 12:10 AM on August 18, 2007

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