A Child’s Garden of Grass (a pre-legalization comedy)

“A Child’s Garden of Grass” was a comedy album that was nearly 50 years ahead of its time. Subtitled “A Pre-legalization Comedy” it foresaw the day that occurred in my home state of Michigan this past election day and all across Canada not too long before that: the legalisation of marijuana for recreational use.

I’ll admit it. I used to smoke pot. I haven’t in decades, but I did pretty regularly back in the late ’70s (not too bright for a kid still in high school, but hey, I still got good grades). The thing is, I never saw marijuana use as any different from drinking alcohol – with one exception – it was illegal. I never felt it should be. Well, it’s not any more. This record knew that day would eventually come. Way back in 1971, it knew.

When I ran across this record a couple of weeks ago, I had to pick it up. It brought back memories relating to a book of the same name that I read back in the day (The book was subtitled “The Official Handbook for Marijuana Users”) This album is based on that book which was published a year earlier. I found the book in my high school library during my junior year. (Disclaimer: It wasn’t a book that actually belonged to the school library. I always guessed that somebody put it on the shelves as a joke, for someone to find…and guess what!) I decided to use it later as the subject for an English class book report assignment. Now that might seem a little brazen, but you see, the whole school knew I had smoked pot anyway. Students, teachers, the administration, even the janitors. (Let’s just say there was an incident during my sophomore year and leave it at that.) So I figured what the hell, let’s have some fun.

I think my general synopsis of the book was that I found it to be factually accurate but at the same time, absolutely hilarious. The same goes for this album. The one thing I will say is that I remember the book being more detailed. “A Child’s Garden of Grass”, the album, is a somewhat quirky collection of the more humorous parts of the book of the same name. But right now, it’s mostly a great trip down memory lane.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I got a ‘C’ on the book report. The teacher told me I would have gotten an ‘A’ but they marked it down because of the poor choice of subject matter.

I didn’t care. It was so worth it.

Steve Martin – A Wild And Crazy Guy

My kids know it. Ask me any time, what’s my favorite number. I’m almost sure to answer “a million six”. Listen to this record and you’ll get it.

(Yeah, I might sometimes also say “42”, but that’s another story.)

Sometimes I take things too seriously. Sometimes when I start reading and listening to too much political truth and BS (sometimes hard to decipher which is which), I drag myself down. It’s times like these that I need to force myself to step back and lighten up. At those moments, comedy albums are the perfect remedy.

Steve Martin’s “A Wild And Crazy Guy” is quite possibly the perfect comedy album for any occasion, but most especially non-political ones. Probably¬† because the album is so non-political. It’s just plain hilarious.

I still remember going to the clubs looking for girls with dog poop on their shoes. (Maybe that’s why I never got a date.)

And then of course, there’s “King Tut”…

‘Nuff said.

Blues Brothers – Briefcase Full Of Blues

What started out as a comedy/music skit on Saturday Night Live, turned into one of the best-selling blues albums of all time.

Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi were part of the original “not ready for prime-time players” cast on Saturday Night Live when they came up with the concept of a fictitious blues band from Chicago as a way to have some fun, pay homage to their appreciation of blues, soul, and R&B, and fill a slot for a musical guest that was lacking for the show that weekend. Little did they know, it would turn into an opening slot for comedian Steve Martin on his “Wild and Crazy Guy” tour, a hit album recorded from one of the shows on that tour, and a mega-hit movie based on the fake biographies of Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues.

They were just having fun with it all; but they had a band of crack musicians backing them up (who also happened to be the SNL band at the time). That’s what really made it all come together and work so well – taking their music, but not necessarily themselves, seriously.

That’s what I think I love most about “Briefcase Full of Blues” – it taught me that you need to think seriously about, and focus on what’s most important to you, but never forget to have fun with it at the same time.

How can I not love this album?