Friday, 13 February 2009

Things What Are Great #5 - Muppet Show Albums

In a nutshell:- Most sensational, inspirational, celebrational AND Muppetational.

The Basics:- Back in the 70s, when everything was all bright primary colours and sweets were 99.3% sugar, there were no video-type recording device thingies. Want to relive bits from your favourite puppet-based children's show? Well, then you'll be needing a shiny black disc with grooves on both sides that you'll need to turn over when you get halfway through. To tie in with the unexpectedly huge popularity of the Muppet Show in the mid-70s, two soundtrack albums were released; one covering songs and sketches from the first season, the next covering material from (logically enough) the second. These were played incessantly in our house alongside the Muppet Movie soundtrack. In fact, we only had the second album on tape and it was played so much it had to keep being repaired, eventually getting to the point that it wore so thin you could hear both sides at the same time...

Why's It So Great Then?:- It's Jim Henson's Muppet material - do you even need to ask? For me, it's great for two reasons. This was Muppet stuff I could listen to whenever I wanted. It wasn't on the TV or VHS throughout the early 80s so it kept fanning the flames of Muppet adoration in my heart. Secondly, there's some great material on there and it proved that you could take away the puppetry and the performances would still shine through. The "good grief, the comedian's a bear" routine* is just as funny on LP with only the voices of Jim Henson and Frank Oz as it is with the visual performance. The second album even acknowledges the slightly daft nature of some of the material - there's a little nice aside about a tap dance routine which was ludicrous enough on the show as it didn't show any feet but even more ridiculous on an album with no visuals at all!

Surely Some Of It Must be Rubbish:- OK, I was never very fond of either of the songs by Kermit's nephew Robin - far too twee - but other than that, no, I can't think of a thing.

So We Should Seek Out This Thing Of Which You Speak?:- Absolutely but good luck finding them. They're long out of print and have never been released in their entirety on CD. They've released a compilation CD with some tracks from both albums along with various movie songs but it's not quite the same. If you can find copies somewhere and have still got a turntable lurking about upon which to spin them then I urge you to do so. They're a lovely memento of a time before the ready availability of these multimedia times.**


* Yes, I know, long time readers will be bored of me always twatting on about this one. Well, tough, it's still a favourite.

** I'm not knocking the multimedia age, I love it. These are just a nice reminder of what it used to be like.

8 comments:

J-Diggety said...

I've never heard these albums BUT I heart the Muppets dearly!!

That Baldy Fella said...

Just goes to show that you're a woman of impeccable taste, J-Diggety. Everyone should heart the Muppets...

The Masked Philosopher said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eubQfKYFOPc

Love the Muppets. Also, there are several muppets CD's on sale at amazon.com (the US version). One is called "The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem and More" which might be the compilation CD you were talking about. there are also used copies of "Muppet Hits" and "Muppet Hits Take 2", though they are a bit pricy.

Diane said...

I saw a Jim Henson exhibit at the Smithsonian a few months ago... there were some original Muppets there (in glass cases... not singing and dancing). It was cool. You would've liked it.

Vic said...

Muppet fan here too! I loved the Swedish chef the best. I'd do my impression of him for you, but it's so amazing you might faint.

J-Diggety said...

My impression of Beaker is on pointe! ;)

Makes me want to while away the hours this afternoon on youtube, watching old Muppet Show clips, *sigh*

~ J-D

Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures said...

I Love The Muppets!! The Muppet Show was the best especially when John Denver was on there! (dont judge) : )

That Baldy Fella said...

MP - That and It's Not Easy Being Green always bring a lump to the throat...
Yeah, "Music, Mayhem..." is the compilation and the two Muppet hits are different compilations of the two albums I had plus tracks from an ultra rare one that hardly anyone had at all (they're also out of print hence the steep price). It's the two albums listed on this page that I'm talking about (Muppet Show and Muppet Show 2):-
http://www.muppetcentral.com/collectibles/muppets/audio.shtml

Diane - I'm about as jealous as it's physically possible to be right about now...

Vic - I'm willing to take that risk. Let rip!

J-Diggs - Fortunately, I have more Muppet DVDs than you could shake a stick at (although watching them would probably be more useful than stick shaking)

Sarah - The John Denver ep is a great one - particularly when, after voicing her displeasure about camping in the swamp, Kermit rants at Miss Piggy about going back to visit her home in the sty (my Muppet knowledge is slightly terrifying...)