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It’s Covered: When the River Meets the Sea

by oddbodkins on December 17, 2009

Every year, the networks trudge out the same old holiday specials. You’ve got your tried and true Chuck Brown and his pathetic tree and the Grinch fucking with the Whos, as well as some newer numbers, like Shrek, making a bid for “classic” status. Back when i was knee high to a grasshopper, there was a show that helped “make it” Christmas for me every year which, sadly, no longer sees the light of syndicated day. As any Gen Xer worth his salt would know, i’m obviously talking about Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. This is old school Muppetry at its finest–Jim was still live and kickin’ and Walt Inc. hadn’t gotten their nasty little fingers into that marionette puppet pie. HBO ran the show for a number of Christmases past, but hasn’t in forever. i’m guessing it has something to do with the aforementioned Disney buy-out, but who knows?

Regardless, the show had a number of winner tracks. One might even be on the verge of that “classic” status. For those of you in the know, i’m obviously talking about “When the River Meets the Sea,” though i wouldn’t have faulted you if you thought i meant “Riverbottom Nightmare Band.” While the track was written by Paul Williams for the Emmett Otter special and later covered by John Denver and the Muppets for that kick ass Christmas album, it actually isn’t about Christmas or even the holidays at all. It’s about dying and leaving this mortal coil, so you know the kids loved it immediately.

For your listening pleasure, we have two versions from Ma Otter herself, plus JD and the Muppets, AND a take by none other than Rose Polenzani (that’s OK, i didn’t know who she was, either). Whilst enjoying, i strongly recommend chowing down on some of Momma’s barbecue, but that may just be me.

mp3: When the River Meets the Sea (Ma Otter and Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band from Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas)

mp3: When the River Meets the Sea (John Denver and the Muppets from A Christmas Together)

mp3: When the River Meets the Sea (Rose Polenzani, live on WERS, 3/13/07)

(Ed. note: continuing our blog-on-blog lovefest of late, a special shout out to another of our faves, She’ll Grow Back, for assistance procuring the EOJB soundtrack. Longtime loiterers will recall that these are the cats that inspired It’s Covered in the first place, so you can blame/thank Mark over there accordingly by checking out his blog. His Stagger Lee Saturdays alone are worth the price of admission.)
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark H. Besotted December 17, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Thanks for the link.

For the record, Disney didn't get Emmet in the Muppet buyout. In fact, the most recent DVD release was put out the first December after the deal went through, and Disney wouldn't let the other studio include Kermit's intro for any amount of money.

Also, there's currently a stage show running in Connecticut, but they haven't released a soundtrack yet.


Terrible Chris December 17, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Hey, you Da Man, or at the very least, One of Du Men, my good man. My pleasure to spread that illegal in some states blog-on-blog love.

i heard about the stage show, but didn't realize it was still running. Now i'm going to have to think about a road trip to CT. Great.

i did not, however, realize that Disney didn't get the entirety of the Henson works. Frankly, finding out they didn't makes me very, very happy.


Mark H. Besotted December 18, 2009 at 12:45 am

Disney only got The Muppets (and Babies) and Bear in the Big Blue House.

Henson still has the Fraggles and Emmet and The Christmas Toy and Labyrinth and Dark Crystal.

Sesame Workshop has all the Sesame characters, and rights to show old Kermit skits and even put him in new ones from time to time.

It's all long and complex and heartbreaking. I wanna see Muppet Family Christmas in its entirety, but unless I get an old video dupe from a collector, I can't.


Terrible Chris December 18, 2009 at 8:42 am

i can honestly say i did not now that. That is some wild and wacky stuff.

The one "good" thing that came out of that merger was that picture of Mickey consoling Kermit, which, of course, Google won't let me find right now.


Mark H. Besotted December 19, 2009 at 12:46 am
Maile January 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Any possibility of having them reposted ? I clicked the link and it’s no longer there =(

Thanks in advance.


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