The scariest thing about Bob’s Favorite Street Songs is how old they are. No…it’s how old we are.
Sesame Street straight man Bob McGrath introduces this collection of tunes from the TV show as ”songs not only for your children, but for you parents who grew up watching Sesame Street.” What? There are now parents young enough to have met Bert and Ernie at the appropriate age? Is this a felony?
I did the math. Technically, it’s possible. But not for this parent, who was too deeply mired in adolescence to notice Sesame Street‘s 1968 debut. My misfortune. The soulful classic ”Bein’ Green” (”People tend to pass you over/’Cause you’re not standing out”) might have seemed wise, if I had heard it before I read Catcher in the Rye.
”Bein’ Green,” by the late, great Joe Raposo, is just one of 12 beautifully orchestrated numbers here. There’s Raposo’s ”Sing” (known to oldsters as a Carpenters hit) and ”Rubber Duckie,” which has seeped so deeply into pop culture that even a 40-year-old will recognize it.
These familiar songs lend themselves to playful, jazzy treatments. In general, though, they appeal to the younger, more innocent listener; Street has little of the sly wit that endears the TV show to parents. An exception: ”Put Down the Duckie.”
If you are young enough to know the music on Street already, you don’t need me to recommend it. If you are old enough to have missed its birth, at least you can astound your kids with the fact that you managed to grow up without Bert and Ernie. A-