The Countís Countdown

Louise Gold is credited in the sleeve notes as featuring as The Countess, album produced in 1997 - However, has been some debate as to whether this is correct. This page assumes the sleeve note credits were correct (see below).

Catalogue number: (Sony Wonder CD) LK 63409, (Sony Wonder Cassette) LT63409.

 

Cast

 Starring

Jerry Nelson (as The Count)

Co-Starring

Fran Brill (as Zoe, and, The Countessí Mother)

Kevin Clash (as Elmo)

Louise Gold (as The Countess)

Richard Hunt (as A Great And Good Friend Of The Count)

 

The Countís Special Guests

Ftatateeta and the Bats

Nine Robins

The Royal Transylvanians (featuring Marilyn Sokol)

The Singing Dancing Lambs

 

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 - Dave Conner, Stephen Lawrence, Robby Merkin, Sam Pottle, and, Joe Raposo

Music Supervisor - Danny Epstein

Lyrics Coordinator - Dan Sovak

Special Thanks To - Vicki Bennett, Lou Berger, Thom Cadley, Janelle Courts, Joe Diaz, Tina Fuscaldo, Ryan Hewitt, Ann Marie Kearns, Steven Laszio, Joe Marziotto, Chuck Nankivell, John Phillips, Renee Rachelle, Deborah Strafella, Belinda Ward, Linda White, and, Alan Winnikoff

Music by - Christopher Cerf, Tony Geiss, Stephen Lawrence, Robby Merkin, Jeff Moss, Lee Pockriss, Sam Pottle, Joe Raposo, Jule Styne

Lyrics by - David Axlerod, Sammy Cahn, Tony Geiss, Emily Kingsley, Jeff Moss, Joe Raposo, Adam Rudman, Norman Stiles, Peter Swet, Belinda Ward

 

Track Listing

1. The Song Of The Count (Music by Jeff Moss, Lyrics by Emily Kingsley, 1972) -The Count (Jerry Nelson)

2. The First Day Of School (Music and Lyrics by Jeff Moss, 1982) - The Count (Jerry Nelson)

3. The Transylvania Polka (Music by Sam Pottle, Lyrics by Tony Geiss, 1974) - The Count (Jerry Nelson)

4. Little Miss Count Along (Music by Robby Merkin, Lyrics by Adam Rudman, 1994) - The Count and Zoe (Jerry Nelson and Fran Brill)

5. Nothing To Count (Music and Lyrics by Jeff Moss, 1983) - The Count (Jerry Nelson)

6. Transylvania Love Call (Music by Lee Pockriss, Lyrics by Peter Swet, 1979) - The Count and A Great And A Good Friend (Jerry Nelson, and, Richard Hunt)

7. The Batty Bat (Music and Lyrics by Joe Raposo, 1986) - The Count with Ftatateeta and the Bats (Jerry Nelson and company)

8. Counting Is Wonderful (Music by Sam Pottle, Lyrics by Emily Kingsley and David Axlerod, 1975) - The Count and Elmo (Jerry Nelson and Kevin Clash)

9. One Potato (Music and Lyrics by Jeff Moss, 1978) - The Count (Jerry Nelson, with company)

10. Count Up To Nine (Music by Sam Pottle, Lyrics by David Axlerod, 1977) - The Count with Ftatateeta and The Bats (Jerry Nelson with Company)

11. Hands (Music and Lyrics by Jeff Moss, 1978) - The Count (Jerry Nelson)

12. Itís Been A Long Time (Music by Jule Styne, Lyrics by Sammy Cahn, - not sure of recording date) - The Royal Transylvanians with The Count (Marilyn Sokol with Jerry Nelson)

13. Counting Robins (music by Christopher Cerf, Lyrics by Norman Stiles, 1994) - The Count and Nine Robins (Jerry Nelson, with company)

14. I Could Have Counted All Night (Music by Stephen Lawrence, Lyrics by Belinda Ward) - The Count, The Countess, and, The Countessí Mother (Jerry Nelson, Louise Gold, and, Fran Brill)

15. The Lambaba! (Music and Lyrics by Tony Geiss) - The Count with The Singing Dancing Lambs (Jerry Nelson with company)

 

The Cassette follows the same track-listing as the CD, with Tracks 1 to 7 on Side A, and Tracks 8 to 15 on Side B.

There has been some debate as to whether Louise Gold actually sang I Could Have Counted All Night on this album. The voice is a very unusual one, for her, although not outside the bounds of possibility to be one of hers. Muppet Fan TW noticed (and your webmaster agrees) that Louise Gold could not have puppeteered the number of Sesame Street itself (because that looks like it was puppeteered right-handed), its possibly the singing on the programme itself may have been Julianne Buescher (Muppet Fan TW thinks that is who it sounds most like). However, Louise Gold (as she herself confirmed) did sometimes sing numbers on Sesame Street that she didnít puppeteer, so this could be one of them. The big question, though, is whether the sleeve notes of this album are correct. The three puppeteers credited on the track in question in this album canít remember for certain: Ms Gold herself doesnít remember it (but that doesnít necessarily mean she didnít do it). Meanwhile Puppeteer FB and Sesame Street colleagues (including Puppeteer JN)ís consensus of opinion seems to be that Louise Gold probably did sing it.

 

Apart from Marilyn Sokol, it is not known who sang the roles of The Countís Special Friends on this album, however likely possibilities include: Pam Arciero, Camille Bonora, Fran Brill, Richard Hunt, Jim Kroupa, Peter Linz, Richard Lyon, Noel MacNeal, Alison Mark, Jim Martin, Joey Mazzarino, Jeff Moss, Carman Osbahr, Marty Robinson, and, Tish Summers

All of the people involved with this album had of course worked on Sesame Street.

The CD version of the album and the cassette version had slightly different front covers. Both depicted Elmo and The Count, with The Count holding a microphone. On the cover for the CD Elmo was holding a CD, and on the cover for the cassette Elmo was holding an audio cassette tape.

 

Many years before this recording, Louise Gold played a maid in a production of My Fair Lady and in it is very likely that she sang backing vocals on that productionís version of I Couldíve Danced All Night.

Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, and, Louise Gold, appeared on The Muppet Show, as did Fran Brill (although she was only in Series 1); for which Sam Pottle wrote the theme tune.

Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, and, Louise Gold feature on the albums: The Muppet Show Music Hall, The Muppet Show 2 , The Muppet Show Music Album , John Denver & The Muppets A Christmas Together, John Denver & The Muppets Merry Christmas 45RPM, Jim Henson Presents Silly Songs, Put Some Zing In Your Spring, Muppet Hits 1 , Muppet Hits 2, Christmas For Kids, and, John Denver Christmas. They puppeteered on The Muppets Go To The Movies, and were also among the muppeteers who appeared on The Royal Variety Performance (1977), and featured in the documentary Of Muppets And Men.

Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, and, Louise Gold puppeteered on the film The Great Muppet Caper, and feature on the album The Great Muppet Caper(Soundtrack album), which had music and lyrics by Joe Raposo.

Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, and, Louise Gold feature on the album Music Mayhem & More, which also included songs by Joe Raposo

Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Louise Gold, and, Kevin Clash feature on the album Muppet Music Mix which also included songs by Joe Raposo, and which Tim Fuscaldo was also involved with.

Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Louise Gold, and, Marilyn Sokol feature on the album Favorite Songs From Jim Hensonís Muppets, which also featured songs by Joe Raposo.

Jerry Nelson and Louise Gold puppeteered on The Muppet Christmas Carol, and, The Secret Life Of Toys; and can be heard on the The Muppet Christmas Carol (Soundtrack album) and Jerome Kern The First 100 Years.

Jerry Nelson, Fran Brill, Kevin Clash, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt feature on the album Born To Add, as indeed do: Pam Arciero, Camille Bonora, Jim Kroupa, Peter Linz, Richard Lyon, Noel MacNeal, Alison Mark, Jim Martin, Joey Mazzarino, Jeff Moss, Carman Osbahr, Marty Robinson, and, Tish Summers. That album was also produced by Christopher Cerf, with musical direction by Robby Merkin, musical supervision by Danny Epstein, lyric coordination by Dan Sovak, and arrangements by Dave Conner and Sam Pottle It also had music by: Christopher Cerf, Tony Geiss, Jeff Moss, Sam Pottle, and, Joe Raposo, and lyrics by: David Axlerod, Tony Geiss, Emily Kingsley, Jeff Moss, Joe Raposo, and, Norman Stiles, with arrangements and conducting by Dave Conner. In addition Joe Diaz, Ann Marie Kearns, Chuck Nankiwell, John Phillips, Linda White and Alan Winnikoff were also involved, and the song Count Up To Nine also features on it.

Jerry Nelson, Fran Brill, Kevin Clash, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt also feature on: Elmoís Lowdown Hoedown as indeed do Pam Arcerio, Jim Martin, Joey Mazzarino, Marty Robinson. 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.

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

Jerry Nelson did voice-work on The Dark Crystal

Kevin Clash puppeteered on Labyrinth

Marty Robinson puppeteered on Spitting Image

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

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

Jule Styneís music can also be found in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Side By Side By Sondheim.

Camile Bonora, Richard Hunt, and, Marty Robinson puppeteered on Tale Of The Bunny Picnic.

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

Pam Arciero, Camille Bonora, Fran Brill, Kevin Clash, Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, and, Marty Robinson had performed at Jim Hensonís Memorial Service.

Ed Mitchell went on to work on A Green And Red Christmas, for which Jerry Nelson is credited as a backing vocalist.

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

Louise Gold subsequently appeared on stage with Liz Robertson (Lerner) in Noel/Cole: Letís Do It, and Side By Side By Sondheim.

 

Review

by Emma Shane, 17 January 2003

If, like me, you are a fan of that wonderfully voiced muppeteer Jerry Nelson, then this album is an absolute must have, seeing as he is itís star. Indeed the very best thing about this album is that at long last it gives Jerry Nelson his chance in the limelight. In the many years he has been with The Muppets he has made an immeasurable contribution to their success, in particular with his notable contributions to their musical success, yet, he seems all to often a little overlooked, but not on this album. If any Muppet album could be described as truly his, it is this one, and with his wonderful voice he makes the most of it.

Two of Jerry Nelsonís best performances on the entire album are The First Day Of School and Hands. The former gives Jerry Nelson a brilliant opportunity to demonstrate his considerable vocal prowess, changing style several times in the song. It starts fairly quiet and slow, but the chorus is a fast tempo tour de force. Although I am familiar with hearing Jerry Nelsonís singing on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, until I heard this number I donít think I realised just quite how brilliant a singer he is. Hands is notable simply because Jeff Moss made a good job of writing ironic lyrics. Well they are very ironic as sung by a performer like Jerry Nelson. After all besides, the twenty two things listed in the song, his hands can also operate a puppet (such as The Count), rather well.

All of the tracks on this album are very listenable to, not least because they are so well sung. Few Muppet albums contain quite such a consistently high standard of vocal performance as this one. Nevertheless some songs do stand out a little more than others. Amongst the more memorable are: Little Miss Count Along, and, The Batty Bat. A bit more notable are Counting Robins, and, The Transylvania Polka. The former has a very catchy tune and Iím sure a similar tune turned up somewhere on The Muppet Show, while the latter, is very funny, and could well be a sort of spoof on something else.

Another number which is clearly a spoof, this time most definitely from Lerner and Loweís My Fair Lady, is, my favourite track on the album, I Could Have Counted All Night. This is the only track where the star of the album is to some extent overshadowed by one of his colleagues, namely Louise Gold. Ever since their Muppet Show days these two have always made a great singing team (and one who seem to take it in turns to shine - Louise may dominate on this particular number, but on some of their other duets Jerry has dominated, and on other occasions neither has dominated the other, itís a very equal partnership). In this particular instance, it seems to be magnificently appropriate for Louise, to take the lionís share of the number. However, Jerry, as one would expect, stands up to her well, and the combination is shear delight. Fran Brill, taking on a Mrs Pearce (Henry Higginís housekeeper) type role as The Countessí Mother barely gets a look in. But perhaps the most striking thing about this track, is not the wonderful winning singing combination (good though that undoubtedly is), but Louise Goldís excellent job of creating an accent for The Countess. If I hadnít known she was on this track I certainly would never have guessed it was her. In fact the first time I heard the track I was not entirely certain who was who (out of Louise Gold and Fran Brill). It was only by realising that lyrically which part had to be The Countess, that I knew which had to be her.

All in all, if you want to hear the cream of the Muppets musical talent, then this album, starring the great Jerry Nelson, along with some of the best singers amongst his fellow Muppeteers, is certainly one to get.

 

Critics Comments

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Links about The Countís Countdown

 Muppet Wikiís page for this album: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/The_Count%27s_Countdown

FYE.comís entry for this album: http://www.fye.com/Count-s-Countdown-Front-Page_stcVVproductId200172VVcatId455366VVviewprod.htm  

 

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