Sometimes, during that ever-so-regular search for something rare and interesting in the bargain bins of thrift stores and consignment shops, you run across a record that gives you pause for thought — something so bizarre that you can’t much pass it up. Sometimes, it’s Peter and Wolf with David Bowie doing narration. Other times, it’s a spoken word record with presidential speeches. Few can top, though, the strange 1979 recording of Sesame Disco.
It’s an album that includes such, uh, hits as “I Lost Me Cookie in the Disco” (“…and me got careless, me don’t know how, and me have something me can’t find now…”) and the inimitable “Bein’ Green” in a strange disco mode.
Imagine, if you will, the sounds of singing Muppets, female backups, and that predictably bouncy disco sound. Bizarre, right? It won’t come close to how absolutely weird this is. Hell, the album art alone is worth the inevitably low cost of this album. The sight of Grover thrusting forward as he does the hustle, or Ernie with a gold chain around his neck and a white turtleneck, or Cookie Monster with his shirt open wide? Why, that’s all I needed! The addition of Oscar, The Count, Big Bird, Herry Monster, and a young muppet girl with pigtails (Prairie Dawn, is that you?) — why, it’s icing on the cake. Oh, and you mustn’t forget that there’s a sandwich board advertising the special guest star: Kermit the Frog! The gatefold also shows some of the Muppets with children. That’s sort of weird. And if you couldn’t get enough of the front, why, it’s repeated on the back, only, you know, smaller. It’s a weird one.
Sure, this was a novelty record for kids, but there’s plenty here to enjoy. If you’re looking for something strange and exciting to listen to repeatedly, though? Well, don’t look here. Those backing female vocalists just keep going and going and going: It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. And those bouncy beats? If you’re feeling particularly down, listen to this. If it doesn’t help immediately, turn it off. This is somehow lots of fun, but it’s also enough to drive one to madness. “Disco Frog” is particularly egregious. It included a moment where I thought the record was skipping — I found out after 10 or 15 seconds that the repeated bass line and the “ribbit ribbit” was quite intentional. Oh, boy.
I will say this much: The disco rendition of “Bein’ Green” is actually kind of interesting. Who’da thought?
Is it fair to criticize a kid’s album from 1979? Well, probably not. But this is Sesame Disco! — it’s in a world all its own. If there’s one thing we can certainly agree on, it’s that this is definitely one strange find.