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Music / The Sesame Street Book & Record

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The Sesame Street Book and Record was the first Sesame Street spinoff album, released on Columbia Records in 1970, shortly after the show's first season ended.

Instead of only a collection of songs, it's formatted as an audio Sesame Street episode, linking the songs with dialogue. As the title implies, it was initially packaged with an accompanying book that included illustrations and song lyrics.

Featuring several of the show's most iconic songs, the album was hugely popular, spending nine weeks in the Top 40 of Billboard's album chart, peaking at #23. "Rubber Duckie" was a hit single as well, getting all the way up to #16. It also won a Grammy Award for best children's album.

Track list:

Side One

  1. "Sesame Street" - The Kids
  2. "ABC-DEF-GHI" - Big Bird
  3. "I've Got Two" - Gordon, Susan, Bob, Mr. Hooper, Big Bird and Oscar
  4. "Goin' for a Ride" - The Anything People
  5. "What Are Kids Called?" - Bob and Susan
  6. "Everybody Wash" - Ernie and Bert
  7. "One of These Things" - Bob and Susan
  8. "Up and Down" - Two Monsters (though the Frank Oz-voiced monster would later be Retconned as Cookie Monster)
  9. "Bein' Green" (just titled "Green" here) - Kermit the Frog

Side Two

  1. "Somebody Come and Play" - The Kids (with Bob joining in toward the end)
  2. "I Love Trash" - Oscar the Grouch
  3. "A Face" - Bob
  4. "J-Jump" - The Kids (preceded by Big Bird reciting a poem)
  5. "The People in Your Neighborhood" - Bob and The Anything People
  6. "Rub Your Tummy" - Gordon
  7. "Number 5" - The Kids
  8. "Five People in My Family" - The Anything People
  9. "Nearly Missed" - Susan
  10. "Rubber Duckie" - Ernie

"On my way to where the Tropes are sweet":

  • Antidisestablishmentarianism: In "ABC-DEF-GHI", Big Bird thinks the alphabet is a really long word.
  • Baths Are Fun: "Everybody Wash" and "Rubber Duckie" are Ernie's celebrations of bathing.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Several characters address the listener directly.
  • The Cynic: Oscar, of course. At the end of "I've Got Two", when everyone enthuses about what a great song it was, he simply says "I didn't like it."
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The album serves as a time capsule for all the elements in season 1 of the show that soon changed.
    • Matt Robinson as Gordon.
    • Big Bird being portrayed as The Ditz with a yokel accent.
    • Oscar with a more pronounced Bronx accent.
    • Cookie Monster not having crystallized as a full-blown character yet, so he has a voice closer to Grover (though the singing voice is close to the classic voice).
    • The Anything People as a separate troupe of Muppets who changed personalities from sketch to sketch. Starting in season 2, the methodology shifted to using the Anything Muppets as templates for continuing characters.
    • Caroll Spinney playing some of the Anything characters. With the hiring of Jerry Nelson and Fran Brill in season 2, Spinney focused on just playing Big Bird and Oscar.
    • Bob McGrath and Loretta Long pitching in with Anything voices too.
    • A slightly deeper-voiced Kermit and Ernie (and a more subdued Bert).
  • Everything Is an Instrument: "Rubbie Duckie" is punctuated by squeaks from the title toy.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: The pun on the old meaning of "queer" in "ABC-DEF-GHI".
    It starts out like an "A" word as anyone can see
    But somewhere in the middle it gets awful "QR" to me
  • "I Am" Song:
    • "Bein' Green" is Kermit talking about how he accepts himself for who he is.
    • "I Love Trash" is all about defining Oscar as a character.
  • In the Style of: Most of the songs are done in the standard show tune-inspired Sesame Street style, but "Up and Down" has a big Soul influence.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Early signs of Bert's devotion to this in "Everybody Wash", as he calls out wonky body parts like "kneecaps" and "big toe", in contrast to Ernie saying obvious ones.
  • Kids Rock: Four songs are sung by a group of kids, including the theme song.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Somebody Come and Play" is a bouncy, happy-sounding song sung from the point-of-view of a child who can't find any playmates.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • In "Everybody Wash" Ernie acknowledges "The boys and girls at home listening to the record".
    • The closing announcement on the vinyl version.
    Gordon: Well, it's time for us to go. But you know what? Any time you want to visit Sesame Street again, all you have to do is take this record off the record player, turn it over, put it back on the record player, and put the needle back on at the beginning.
  • Running Gag: Oscar announcing that he's going to sing a song, only to have the others stop him, until he finally disrupts things to sing "I Love Trash".
  • Shout-Out: Big Bird's poem before "J-Jump" is done in the style of Henry Gibson's poetry recitations on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.
  • Sound-to-Screen Adaptation: "Up and Down" had only been performed as a snippet on the show, and the version here was its first full-length performance. While the monster who lost his cookie didn't officially have a name here, once Cookie Monster was established a character, a performance of Cookie Monster and another monster (an early version of Herry Monster, but retaining the Jim Henson voice) lip-syncing the album take was taped for the show.
  • Tenor Boy: Bob's familiar tenor voice and guy-next-door personality are established here.
  • Theme Tune Extended: The less-commonly-heard bridge of the show's theme song ("It's a magic carpet ride...") is included in the rendition here.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The monster in "Up and Down" loves cookies. The song itself went a long way toward establishing the ravenous blue monster who appeared in season 1 as specifically being a Cookie Monster.
  • Trash of the Titans: "I Love Trash" is Oscar's celebration of this.