(originally published on April 20, 2008)
Can a '70s comedy album that is themed about marijuana possibly still be funny? In this case, yes. The audio companion to the book, A Child's Garden of Grass, by Jack S. Margolis, has plenty of funny moments, thanks to excellent production and just plain good material. Author Margolis, collaborator Jere Alan Brian, and producer Ron Jacobs created a comedy album that incorporates ideas from the book with new material, sound effects, and music to make 38 minutes go by very quickly. It helps that the original book had a fairly gentle, self-parodying style that stood out among the polemics of the period, and that Margolis had been a humorist long before he wrote it. The album is loosely constructed as a parody of old school instruction records, complete with pompous narration and electronic sounds to instruct a teacher to change slides, and the conceit works surprisingly well. The large cast handles the material well, and those who heard the album for the first time when it was new may be delighted to find that it really is as funny as they remembered. The audio version of A Child's Garden of Grass is a nostalgia trip for people of a certain age, and a humorous learning experience for those who were too young to remember the era.