Friday, April 9, 2010

Arlo Guthrie

This was the first record I ever got signed and it’s an aesthetic disaster, but it has sentimental value. I got this signed in the late 80s at a daytime show at the Frederick Fair Grounds in Frederick, Maryland. The price of admission was $5 and after the show Arlo sat down in the grass, talking with folks and signing autographs--mostly on cassette tapes. When I handed him this 1981 LP, he said something like "Look at this old thing." It’s funny how a 1981 record can seem more dated than a classic record from the 60s or 70s, but that’s exactly how this one seemed back then and it still does now; I mean, a signed Alice’s Restaurant is a timeless artifact, but a signed Power of Love--Arlo’s last major label record--is in a category all its own. The funny thing is, I had Alice’s Restaurant on LP at the time, but I chose to bring this record to the show instead. I guess I thought it would be a nice gesture to bring a record from the current decade. Something that would not have occurred to me back then is that this "cut-out" copy probably reminded Arlo that this record did not sell very well. I wish that the notched spine was the only issue with this cover, but equally problematic is the fact that the autograph is totally lost in the Hawaiian shirt, not to mention that the pen was obviously running low on ink. There’s also the hideous cover design--at least Arlo’s got a nice tan.

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