“Hobo’s Lullaby” by Arlo Guthrie - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1972Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

I struggle to enjoy this one quite so much - it's just a bit too safe sounding for me. His cover of “City Of New Orleans” (Steve Goodman, 1971) is the case in point, although it gave him his biggest ever hit (#18 in the US pop chart), with it's rousing chorus of “Good Morning America” lending itself well to AM breakfast shows all over the country, many no doubt missing the air of regret with regards to disappearing railroads.

The album's big highlight is another cover; “1913 Massacre” was originally recorded by his dad, Woody Guthrie, in 1944 for his “Documentary #1: Struggle” album. Woody had recently read a book by labour activist Mother Bloor (Ella Reeve Bloor, 1862–1951) called “We Are Many”. It recounted the tragic story of a Christmas party held for a group of striking mine workers in Michigan. Copper mining had become big business in Michigan, drawing workers into the state. Many joined the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), an affiliate of the Industrial Workers of the World, or the Wobblies. The WFM separated from the Wobblies and went on strike against the Michigan mines. Intent on discouragement at every turn, the intimidatory tactics employed by the hired company thugs were despicable; unspeakably evil deeds. The incident eye witnessed and described by Bloor and retold in Guthrie’s “1913 Massacre” happened on Christmas Eve, 1913. During the party, these thugs were milling outside. One of them yelled, “Fire!” and locked the doors. 73 folks, 59 of whom were only children, were trampled to death trying to escape.

The set finishes well with another connection to Woody; his 1944 song “Hobo's Lullaby” had originally been done by Goebel Reeves way back in 1934. It's nice to see the family tradition carrying on.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [01:46] 3.6.png Arlo Guthrie - Anytime (Herbert Lawson) Country
A2 [04:31] 4.1.png Arlo Guthrie - City Of New Orleans (Steve Goodman) Country
A3 [02:47] 4.8.png Arlo Guthrie - Lightning Bar Blues (Hoyt Axton) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
A4 [02:49] 4.6.png Arlo Guthrie - Shackles And Chains (Jimmie Davis) Country
A5 [04:15] 7.4.png Arlo Guthrie - 1913 Massacre (Woody Guthrie) Folk
A6 [03:13] 3.2.png Arlo Guthrie - Somebody Turned On The Light (Hoyt Axton) Folk Rock / Americana
B1 [03:21] 4.5.png Arlo Guthrie - Ukulele Lady (Richard A. Whiting, Gus Kahn) Country
B2 [04:24] 4.3.png Arlo Guthrie - When The Ship Comes In (Bob Dylan) Folk Rock / Americana
B3 [02:05] 4.3.png Arlo Guthrie - Mapleview (20%) Rag (Arlo Guthrie) Country
B4 [04:15] 4.1.png Arlo Guthrie - Days Are Short (Arlo Guthrie) Folk Rock / Americana
B5 [03:57] 6.5.png Arlo Guthrie - Hobo’s Lullaby (Goebel Reeves) Folk

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