Elmo’s Lowdown Hoedown

Louise Gold featured as a Muppet Performer, album produced in 1998

Catalogue number: (Sony Wonder CD) LK 63430, (Song Wonder Cassette) LT 63430

 

Cast

 Starring

Fran Brill (as Polly Darton)

Kevin Clash (as Elmo)

Jim Henson (as: Ernie, and, Marshall McClean)

Jerry Nelson (as: Noel Cowherd, the Balladeer in “The Dirtiest Town In The West”, the Lead Singer in “The Oatbran Zydeco ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’ Band”, and as Himself)

Frank Oz (as: Bert, and, Cookie Monster)

Caroll Spinney (as Big Bird, and, Oscar The Grouch)

 

Also Featuring

 Pam Arciero, Tom Armbruster, Charlie Brissette, Christopher Cerf, Louise Gold, Jeff Gunn, Richard Hunt, Angie Jare’e, Camille Kampouris, Jim Martin, Joey Mazzarino, Ed Mitchell, Tish Sommers Rabe, Martin P. Robinson, David Rudman and, Terry Wood

 

Production Team

 Produced by - Ed Mitchell and Christopher Cerf

Mastered by - Vic Anesini at Sony Music Studios, New york City

Musical Director for Sesame Street - Robby Merkin

Arranged and Conducted by - Charlie Brissette, Dave Conner, Paul Jacobs, Robby Merkin, and, Joe Raposo

Music Supervisor - Danny Epstein

Lyric Coordinator - Dan Sovak

Special Thanks To - Amy Cohen, Janielle Courts, Jim Czak, Joe Diaz, Tina Fuscaldo, Ian Huckabee, Ann Marie Kearns, Eddie King, Joe Marziotto, Chuck Nankivell, Vicki Newman, John Phillips, Renee Rachelle, Tom Spahn, Deborah Strafella, Chris Theis, Katrin Van Dam, Linda White, and, Alan Winnikoff

Music by - Christopher Cerf, Tony Geiss, Paul Jacobs, Jeff Moss, Sam Pottle, Joe Ramano, Joe Raposo

Lyrics by - Christopher Cerf, Sara Compton, Sarah Durkee, Tony Geiss, David Korr, Jeff Moss, Joe Ramano, Joe Raposo, Josh Selig, Norman Stiles

 

Track Listing

1. Readers Of The Open Range (Music by Joe Raposo, Lyrics by Sara Compton, 1985) - Noel Cowherd, Elmo, and The Readers of The Open Range (Jerry Nelson, Kevin Clash and the Chorus)

2. Tall Short Texans (Music by Paul Jacobs, Lyrics by Sarah Durkee, 1992) - Big Bird and Elmo (Caroll Spinney and Kevin Clash)

3. Handful Of Crumbs (Music by Christopher Cerf, Lyrics by Christopher Cerf and Norman Stiles, 1982) - Cookie Monster (Frank Oz and Chorus)

4. Waitin’ At The Bus Stop Sign For You (Music and Lyrics by Tony Geiss, 1988) - Polly Darton (Fran Brill)

5. Ballad Of The Sad Cafe (Music by Paul Jacobs, Lyrics by Josh Selig, 1991) - The Anything Muppets (The Chorus)

6. It’s Funny (Music by Sam Pottle, Lyrics by David Korr, 1976) - The Anything Muppets (The Chorus)

7. A Tall Tale (Music and Lyrics by Christopher Cerf, 1991) - Elmo, Noel Cowherd, and, Polly Darton (Kevin Clash, Jerry Nelson, and, Fran Brill – possibly including Louise Gold on the backing vocals)

8. The Dirtiest Town In The West (Music and Lyrics by Joe Ramano, 1979) - The Balladeer, Marshall Mcclean and The Inhabitants of Dirty Gulch (Jerry Nelson, Jim Henson and the Chorus)

9. Love In The Junkyard (Music by Christopher Cerf, Lyrics by Norman Stiles, 1981) - Oscar The Grouch (Caroll Spinney)

10. Lonesome Joan (Music and Lyrics by Jeff Moss, 1982) - Ernie and Bert (Jim Henson and Frank Oz)

11. Frog Struggle Song (Music and Lyrics by Joe Raposo, 1972) - Jerry Nelson

12. It’s Zydeco (Music and Lyrics by Christopher Cerf, 1989) - The Oatbran Zydeco ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’ Band (Jerry Nelson and the chorus)

 

 

The Cassette, Song Wonder Cassette LT 63430, follows the same track listing as the CD, Sony Wonder CD LK 63430, with tracks 1 to 6 on Side A, and tracks 7 to 12 on Side B.

All of the people involved with this album had of course worked on Sesame Street. However, it should perhaps be pointed out that not all of the featured puppeteers in the chorus (or indeed those of the starring puppeteers who also sang in the ensemble pieces) sing on all the tracks, it depends (for a start) on whether this or that puppeteer was actually working on Sesame Street at the time. For example, although Louise Gold has been a Muppeteer since 1977, she has only worked on Sesame Street in the first half of the 1990’s. Thus the only track on which her strong distinctive voice can be found is Track 5, Ballad Of The Sad Cafe (Tracks 2 and 7 which were also made around the time she was on the show do not involve the chorus)

This is not the only album where Louise Gold has been involved in an affectionate send up of country music, she got to sing I Could’ve Gone To Nashville on the Nunsense OLC album.

As this is an album of Country Music, all be it Muppet Style, it is perhaps worth noting that the British Muppeteer Louise Gold is an honorary Citizen of The City Of Memphis Tennessee, she received this honour in 1994, when she appeared in a Noel Coward and Cole Porter compilation revue, Noel/Cole: Let’s Do It at an arts festival there.

 

Jim Henson, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt and Louise Gold were among the eight main puppeteers on The Muppet Show, on which Fran Brill also puppeteered (though in her case most likely only during the first series); and for which Sam Pottle wrote the theme song.

Jim Henson, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt and Louise Gold also feature on the Muppet albums: The Muppet Show Music Hall, The Muppet Show 2, For What It’s Worth, The Muppet Show Music Album, John Denver & The Muppets A Christmas Together, John Denver & The Muppets Merry Christmas 45RPM, Christmas For Kids, John Denver Christmas,  Jim Henson Presents Silly Songs, Put Some Zing In Your Spring, Muppet Hits 1 , Muppet Hits 2 , Muppet Music Mix (although Louise Gold seems to be uncredited) and, Music Mayhem And More (although Jerry Nelson and Louise Gold seem to be uncedited). They also represented The Muppets on The Royal Variety Performance (1977), and featured in the documentary Of Muppets And Men.

Jim Henson, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt and Louise Gold also feature on The Great Muppet Caper (Film Soundtrack album), which also had a score by Joe Raposo.

Jim Henson, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney, Richard Hunt and Louise Gold also feature on Favorite Songs From Jim Henson’s Muppets, which also included songs by Joe Raposo.

Fran Brill, Kevin Clash, Camille Kamporis, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Pam Arciero, Christopher Cerf, Louise Gold, Jim Martin, Joey Mazzarino, Martin P Robinson, and, Richard Hunt also feature on Born To Add, which also has music by Christopher Cerf, Jeff Moss, and, Sam Pottle, and lyrics by Christoper Cerf, Tony Geiss, Jeff Moss and Norman Stiles with arrangements and conducting by Dave Conner and Paul Jacobs, and for which Robby Merkin was also a musical director and Danny Epstein the music supervisor, while Jim Czak, Joe Diaz, Ann Marie Kearns, Chuck Nankivell, John Phillips, Dan Sovak, Chris Theis, Linda White, and, Alan Winnikoff were also involved.

Jerry Nelson, Fran Brill, Kevin Clash, Louise Gold, and, Richard Hunt are also credited as featuring on The Count’s Countdown as indeed Pam Arcerio, Camille Kampouris, Jim Martin, Joey Mazzorino and, Marty Robinson may. That album was also produced by Ed Mitchell and Christopher Cerf, mastered by Vic Anesini, with musical direction by Robby Merkin, musical supervision by Danny Epstein, and lyric coordination by Dan Sovak It also had music by: Christopher Cerf, Tony Geiss, Jeff Moss, Sam Pottle, and, Joe Raposo, and lyrics by Tony Geiss, Jeff Moss, Joe Raposo, and, Norman Stiles with arrangements and conducting by Dave Conner. In addition Janelle Courts, Joe Diaz, Tina Fuscaldo, Ann Marie Kearns, Joe Marziotto, Chuck Nankiwell, John Phillips, Renee Rachelle, Deborah Strafella, Linda White and Alan Winnikoff were also involved. However, there has been some debate as to whether Louise Gold actually sang on that album.

Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Louise Gold, and, David Rudman puppeteered on The Muppet Christmas Carol, and sang on The Muppet Christmas Carol (Soundtrack album)

Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Kevin Clash, and, Louise Gold also feature on Muppet Music Mix, which Tim Fuscaldo was also involved with.

Jim Henson. Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Louise Gold, and, Kevin Clash also feature on Muppet Music Sampler.

Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and, Louise Gold puppeteered on The Dark Crystal, for which Jerry Nelson did some voice-work.

Kevin Clash, Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and David Rudman puppeteered on Labyrinth

Louise Gold and Martin P Robinson puppeteered on Spitting Image

Jim Henson, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, and, Louise Gold appeared in The All Time Get Around Sometimes Play Together Every Other Friday Night Vaudeville Show.

Jerry Nelson and Louise Gold with an introduction by Jim Henson can also be heard on Jerome Kern The First 100 Years (although they are credited simply as ‘The Muppets’, rather than as individuals).

Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Louise Gold, and, Caroll Spinney all puppeteered on The Great Muppet Caper, which had a score by Joe Rapso.

Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, and, Louise Gold all puppeteered on The Muppets Go To The Movies.

Kevin Clash, Jim Henson, Richard Hunt, Marty Robinson, and, David Rudman puppeteered on Tale Of The Bunny Picnic.

Kevin Clash, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, and, Louise Gold puppeteered on Muppet Treasure Island. They also appeared on the documentary I Love The Muppets.

Frank Oz went on to make a guest puppeteering appearance on The Animal Show.

Jerry Nelson did voice-work on the UK Co-Production of Fraggle Rock (as well as puppeteering on the main show).

Pam Arciero, Fran Brill, Kevin Clash, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Camille Kampouris, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Marty Robinson, David Rudman, and, Caroll Spinney performed at Jim Henson’s Memorial Service.

Ed Mitchell and Tom Armbruster were also involved with A Green And Red Christmas, for which Louise Gold, Jerry Nelson, and, David Rudman are credited as backing vocalists.

Louise Gold, and, Richard Hunt had puppeteered on The Ghost Of Faffner Hall.

Louise Gold, and, Jerry Nelson puppeteered on The Secret Life Of Toys.

Louise Gold, and. David Rudman went on to puppeteer on the Sesame Street spin off series The Furchester Hotel (where Louise performed Elmo’s Aunty Funella Furchester)

 

Review

by Emma Shane           13 October 2002

One of the things The Muppets happen to be really good at music wise, in fact second only to their abilities as Musical Theatre pastiches, is doing Country Music, this could be partly because some of them (such as Jerry Nelson) seem to have a genuine affection for the genre. Thus this album shows the Sesame Street Muppets at their loveable best. And don’t worry if as an adult Muppet-fan you are not to keen on the little red monster, although the album is titled Elmo’s Lowdown Hoedown, he only actually appears on 25% of the tracks: A Tall Tale, Tall Short Texans, and, Readers Of The Open Range which is very funny the first couple of times you hear it.

Tall Short Texans although not one of my favourites, is worth a mention, because in Muppet, or at least Sesame Street Muppet history it clearly has a place, featuring together two of the show’s biggest stars, Caroll Spinney’s Big Bird and Kevin Clash’s Elmo. The indefatigable Caroll Spinney gets another chance to shine as Oscar the Grouch in Love In The Junkyard. He is by no means the only Muppet (and Sesame Street Muppet) veteran to star on this album. The Master himself, Jim Henson, also features, most notably on two tracks, The Dirtiest Town In The West (where perhaps his character the Marshall is an extension of his own good personality) and as Ernie to Frank Oz’s Bert in Lonesome Joan a very catchy ditty by Jeff Moss, which I actually think might be comparable to part of Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin’s Lady In The Dark score!

As is the case on several of the Muppet albums, that brilliant veteran of Muppet musical numbers Jerry Nelson gets his chance to shine, in particular in his character of Noel Cowherd (the name at least seems to be a parody of Noel Coward). He does sterling work on A Tall Tale and The Dirtiest Town In The West, and makes both Readers Of The Open Range and It’s Zydeco actually pleasant to listen to any number of times. But where he is really at his best is as himself in Frog Struggle Song. This is a lovely little number by that underrated Broadway songwriter Joe Rapso, perhaps best known as the author of It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green, he seems to have written much of his best work for Muppet frogs! Jerry’s performance is really beautiful; full of simplicity, sincerity, talent, and his wonderful voice.

The somewhat unexpected star of this album, however, is another veteran Sesame Street performer, Fran Brill in her character of Polly Darton, a very suitable and very well done parody of Dolly Parton. Good though Kevin Clash and Jerry Nelson are on A Tall Tale, it is Fran Brill who really stands out on it. While her performance on Waitin’ At The Bus Stop Sign For You is outstanding, I think it is one of the best numbers she has ever recorded for The Muppets. Listening to this I can begin to appreciate the fact that she is also a Broadway actress, someone on Broadway should really make use of this lady’s ability to sing Country music.

My favourite number on this album just has to be Ballad Of The Sand Cafe, the second verse, which I am pretty sure is sung by Louise Gold, sent shivers down my spine, not least because it happens to be very well sung by a distinctively strong voiced anything Muppet. And of course her accent blends in perfectly with her American colleagues.

If, as an adult, you choose to buy just one Sesame Street album, then I would thoroughly recommend this one. To my mind there are three major reasons to buy it. Jerry Nelson’s beautiful rendition of Joe Raposo’s Frog Struggle Song, Fran Brill’s outstanding performance on Waitin’ At The Bus Stop Sign For You, and the Anything Muppets (including the strong glorious voiced Louise Gold) on Ballad Of The Sad Cafe. In addition all the other numbers are if not so outstanding more than bearable to listen to over and over again. I have just played the album through twice, ye ha!

  

Links about Elmo’s Lowdown Hoedown

 Muppet Wiki’s page for this album: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Elmo%27s_Lowdown_Hoedown

 

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