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A Child's Guide to Good and Evil

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iTunes Review

The group's third Reprise album continues in the vein of its previous releases, with a balance of straightforward pop songs and experimental freakouts that perfectly align with the band's name. The psychedelic '60s had its share of oddities, and among those this album ranks highly. Though some fans at the time considered A Child's Guide a letdown from the group's previous releases, with time and distance it sounds equally appealing in its own way. "Eighteen Is over the Hill" starts things with a mix of vocals and harmonies that could be Harpers Bizarre, while "In the Country" adds extra oomph to the band's country-pop-psych attack. "Ritual #1" furthers the band's reputation with fresh melodies. "Our Drummer Always Plays in the Nude" is a sprightly, upbeat little number with the usual mild perversities tucked inside the lyrics. Note: "Anniversary of World War III" is complete silence, a tribute to John Cage. "Shifting Sands" and "1906" are mono single mixes from songs that appeared on the group's album Part One

Customer Reviews

This band actually made the Mothers work harder...

...and to some extent better, although the Mothers were more polemics than melodics. In any case I couldn't disagree more with the iTunes reviewer: this is the album where they got it together, especially compared to Part One, Vol.1, Vol.2 and Vol.4, all of which had a nice cut or two. This almost-concept-album had my attention from the first listening in '68 during my last year of high school, and I still listen to most of the cuts. Of course it has some of the unfortunate contributions of Bob Markley, the guy who had the money to start the band, had an embarrassing fetish for underage chicks, and an oversized ego, but this is the album that, overall, shows signs that whomever produced it was reigning Markley's excesses in (much to the relief of his far more talented band mates). Yes, it's their strongest anti-Nam statement, and they weren't afraid to get silly here and there a la Country Joe, but they also created some liltingly beautiful sounds and feelings. If you don't own any of their work, or if you accidentally picked up the incredibly uneven and mostly terrible "Part One" as your only introduction to the WCPAEB's work, you might want to give this one a try (skipping track 12, which is empty, track 13 and 14, which add nothing and come from Part One, which is not to be confused with Volume 1!).

A Child's Guide...

ITunes review if this album stinks! One of my favorite album's of all time!!!! Their best album by far......


I love the Dead Weather's version of "A Child of a Few Hours Is Burning to Death", but this is good too. Speaking of which, why isn't the Dead Weather version on iTunes? I'm trying to find it on vinyl, not that easy.


Formed: 1966 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

One of the more offbeat acts to emerge during the psychedelic era, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band were certainly eclectic and ambitious enough to live up to their slightly clumsy moniker, capable of jumping from graceful folk-rock to wailing guitar freakouts to atonal, multilayered, avant-garde compositions at a moment's notice, but they also reflected a strongly divided creative mindset, with Bob Markley, the lyricist and ostensive leader of the group, on one side and the rest of the band...
Full Bio
A Child's Guide to Good and Evil, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
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