The Muppets

Muppet Show

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AllMusic Review by

A lost treasure with all those Jim Henson characters brimming with life. Even without the visuals, this LP has all the trappings of their successful variety show of the late '70s, when the Muppets were at the height of their popularity. Classics like "Mah Na Mah Nah" and Kermit the Frog's melancholy and optimistic anthem "Bein' Green" are here, plus a dozen other treats. There's a happy blend of songwriting and shtick when Fozzie Bear belts out "Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear," an early Randy Newman number, that bounces about in ragtime style. Sam the Eagle and Rowlf the Dog immortalize Gilbert & Sullivan's "Tit Willow" with comic timing so solid you'll want to hear it repeatedly, regardless of how old you are. Henson and collaborator Frank Oz are wonderful together, here and elsewhere, as with the lovers' quarrel between the famously mismatched Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. Kermit's lesser-known cousin Robin has the simple little introspective closer to side one with "Halfway Down the Stairs," and it shines tenderly. Some passages actually succeed better here than they would on TV, especially the absurdist approach given to "Flight of the Bumblebee," where the blue rat-man Gonzo the Great is supposedly eating tires in time with the frenzied music. Bits like this and the hit-you-over-the-head melody line of "Muppaphone" make good use of the listeners' imagination, creating smart (and low-budget) attention-getters. There are several other songs, skits, and gags along the way, like the very goofy "I'm in Love With a Big Blue Frog," the mock soap-opera "Veterinarian's Hospital," and the one-note honk in the jazzy "Sax and Violence" that are too good to be album filler, but too simple to be standouts. Some of the humor is simple, most of it good-spirited, but all of it is family-friendly. Comb through the used bins, hit those garage sales, surf the web; it's worth it. Even if it's just for your "inner child."

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