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Published on Oct 6, 2010
1970 Capitol ST678 reissue of the Oracle Records release.
In the late 1960s, the exploding popularity of underground FM radio allowed for the broadcast of songs of a length that had been previously unimaginable in rock (and, for the most part, folk) music. Arlo Guthrie's 18-minute "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" (more popularly known simply as "Alice's Restaurant") may have been the most renowned of these, following a loose talking folk-blues format to relay an amusing shaggy dog of a tale. Somewhat less remembered, though likewise a big FM favorite in its time, is Jaime Brockett's 13-minute "Legend of the U.S.S. Titanic." Like "Alice's Restaurant," it too followed a talking folk-blues format, and also threw in knowing countercultural references, albeit with a mania that seemed like Brockett was going to jump right off the grooves and into a straitjacket. Unlike Guthrie, however, Brockett was unable to build upon his marathon monologue to sustain a long-running career as a recording artist. Indeed, "Legend of the U.S.S. Titanic" wasn't even too typical of his work, the rest of his debut album leaning toward introspective folk ballads. It was "Legend of the U.S.S. Titanic," however, that most listeners bought the LP for, and which would come to overshadow not only the rest of the album, but Brockett's entire career.