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Soundtrack Review

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Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
Music from the Original Television Presentation


Composer: Paul Williams
Performed by: Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Marilyn Sokol, Jim Henson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz and Eren Ozker
Label: Music.Film Recordings
Release Date: 02 November 2018

For the first time ever the original soundtrack to Jim Henson’s 1977 TV Holiday Special Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is released to buy. The 16-track album (26 min, 30 sec) contains music written and produced by Grammy, Golden Globe and Oscar winning songwriter, Paul Williams. Based on a book by Russell and Lillian Hoban, this beloved Christmas tale, with an all-puppet cast of woodland creatures, tells the story of Ma and Emmet Otter – a family that has little more than each other. When a talent show is held in town, a fifty-dollar prize gives them each hope of buying the other a real present...

Paul Williams's songs for Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas doesn't exactly conjure up images of Christmas... and in truth this is really just a novelty album for those who fondly remember the film. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that Marilyn Sokol has a good singing voice, this would just be another out of tune, Muppet style, offering.

There's a bonus track (although the press notes we had were vague about which one it is) that didn't even make it into the movie, and so is presented here for the first time.

What's enjoyable about this soundtrack is that Williams's writing can be universally enjoyed from the youngest to the oldest member of the family. Just like all Jim Henson productions, this doesn't talk down to children.

I have never seen the movie, so don't have fond memories of it. And while it was an interesting novelty release it's not something I'd dig out at Christmas to listen to. Having said that, I'm sure there are millions of adults who grew up loving the film. They'll be pleased to discover that its humour has aged fairly well and can now be enjoyed by them, as adults, on a whole new level.

Track listing:

01. The Bathing Suit That Grandma Wore
02. Jam Session
03. Ain’t No Hole In The Washtub
04. When The River Meets The Sea
05. Bar-B-Que (Jug Band)
06. Carrots The Dancing Horse
07. Bar-B-Que (Yancy Woodchuck)
08. Dancing Rabbit Act
09. Squirrel Acrobatic Act
10. Our World
11. Brothers
12. Riverbottom Nightmare Band
13. Our World-Brothers
14. Our World-Brothers Club Reprise
15. When The River Meets The Sea Reprise Bonus Track:
16. Born In A Trunk


Darren Rea

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