Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Electric Company Times Two!

If you grew up in the early 70's you might remember "The Electric Company". Started in 1971 by the Children's Television Workshop, "The Electric Company" was designed to teach reading skills to 7-10 year olds by using skits, animation and songs. However, the show was so entertaining that it appealed to all ages. I was 10 when it started and even though I had no trouble reading I still watched it religiously. The case featured veteran performers Bill Cosby and Rita Moreno as well as an up-and-comer named Morgan Freeman. Earlier this year a box set of "The Best of the Electric Company came out and comes highly recommended by me.

This first album, "Songs from the Electric Company TV Show" was released by Disneyland Records in 1973. This is definitely NOT the original cast. I feel like they jazzed up the songs too much. It also didn't help that they messed up the first line in the theme song. (Instead of "We're gonna turn it on!" they sang "Get on!") Taken on its own it's not bad, but it doesn't hold a candle to the original.

Which brings us to our second album. All the original cast is on this one from 1974, along with Mel "Who's the dummy writing this show" Brooks and Victor "Pronounced Pronunciation" Borge. There is some overlap between the two, which makes comparing and contrasting fun, particularly on the song "Easy Reader". The guy on the "Songs from..." album can't come anywhere near the great Morgan Freeman's rendition, even if he is a "reading freak"!

Here's the track list for both albums:

Songs from the Electric Company TV Show (Disneyland Records)
1. Electric Company Theme
2. Sign Song
3. My Name Is Kathy
4. Old Double E
5. Punctuation
6. Easy Reader
7. Hard Hard Hard
8. An Un Song

Click here or here to download it!

The Electric Company (Original Cast)
1. Electric Company Theme
2. Giggles Goggles
3. Easy Reader
4. Silent E
5. Be Kind to the Letter S
6. Hard Hard Hard
7. Sign Song
8. A Mysterious Phone Call
9. D
10. Punctuation
11. Jennifer of the Jungle
12. The Clown Song
13. The Clam Song
14. Fight Song
15. Electric Company March
16. Your Rich Uncle Died

And click here or here to download it!

I've redone the pictures for this entry, but the ones included with the file are still the old blurry ones. Just right-click on each picture and do a "Save picture as..." and you're good to go!


Anonymous said...

Great blog. Thanks for The Electric Company (Original Cast) soundtrack. It brings back fond memories of my childhood.


Anonymous said...

Interesting... I had - still have - both those albums. The version of the original cast album that I have, though, although it has all the exact same tracks, has completely different artwork... a Fargo North "Crypto Spectometer" on the back that you can rotate as you listen to the album and see stuff relating to the songs... and a 24-page booklet with the lyrics as illustrated by an utterly amazing lineup including Jack Davis, Bob Oskner, Joe Orlando, Joe Kubert and Edward Gorey!

Anonymous said...

The original cast album with the Fargo North "Crypto Spectometer" is copyright Children's Television Workshop, 1972. I wonder if the Disneyland tracks are really the same, given the description of the mistakes they make. I agree that the art is electrifying and gives a great nostalgic buzz to those of us old enough to remember '70s art.

Anonymous said...

Who are you, I love you! I have the original 1972 Electric Company Record with the Crypto Spectometer on the back. I'm so glad to have this music in an electronic format so I can share it with my son's teacher. We just read the back of a yogurt container, and I jumped up and played Easy Reader. Thanks thanks thanks! I wish PBS would reissue the album. By the way, this album won a Grammy, which is what made Rita Moreno a "triple crown" Oscar/Emmy/Grammy winner.

Tony said...

Actually, Rita Moreno is a "quadruple crown" winner, because not only did she win a Grammy (for this album), an Oscar (for "West Side Story"), and an Emmy (for "The Muppet Show" and "The Rockford Files"), but she also won a Tony for her role in the musical "The Ritz". I don't know if any other performer has accomplished this.

Way Out Junk

Dave said...

I have that 1972 Grammy winning LP as well, but mine didn't have the booklet with it when I found it. I noticed this LP above on the left doesn't have Bill Cosby's photo. Had he left the show by then?