I heard a friend of mine do a longish version of "The Ballad of the Rock Island" and I was suitably impressed. So, I decided to try my hand at this one and developed a compilation of several versions with plenty of my own verbal calisthenics thrown in for good measure.
I play this one bottleneck style and add harmonica for the train whistlin'. I've had an entire bluegrass style band working this one with me in the past. Now that was a great version!
If I hurry I can usually get through it in about 15 minutes but I enjoy stretching it for all it's worth. I love doing this one when I've got a lot of time to kill on stage. ;o) Folks have said that my version has an Arlo air to it.
I've always enjoyed Arlo's work and used to have his version of Alice's restaurant memorized so I could recite it. I've never worked up the guitar part though.
"Now it all started about three Thanksgivings ago"...