Daily Archives: May 20, 2010

318. Roosevelt Franklin – “The Year of Roosevelt Franklin/My Name is Roosevelt Franklin”

This is a rare instance where I actually possess two copies of the same album (both on vinyl), each with a different cover, released in different years with different titles, but the same tracks.

I was introduced to a song off this relatively hard to come by Sesame St production by two different mates of mine who once had aspirations of starting a Jim Henson cover band. I ended up chasing it around 2nd hand stores and online auctions for several years (the cover on the right is the better package as it’s gate fold).

Little Roosevelt may well be some mutant muppet lovechild of the afore-reviewed Aretha. He certainly was for a short time the hippest, blackest, most righteous non-human in the neighbourhood, hanging out with the mega-cool original Gordon (who in real life fathered Hoffs from 21 Jump Street who was a powerful black woman of another generation). He sang black power songs that probably inspired the rise of Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Emmanuel Lewis.

This is a fantastic album, almost enough to prompt procreation, just so your precocious offshoot can sing the alphabet like this:

The album itself features considerably funkier versions than in that clip (hard to imagine I know). The collection is diverse from jazz to blues, funk to soul, and even some mariachi action. Several of the tracks are just simple learn the alphabet, months and days of the week devices:

Others are about empowerment (Skin I’m in), sharing (Halfies) and cooperating (Me and You), crossing the road (the brilliant Safety Boy Blues) and the best version of King Midas’ story ever.

In a perfect world this would be handed to each new parent as they leave the hospital. Within a generation we’d all look like the cast of Good Times and be more peace-loving and right-on than Michael Franti.

File under: You’re sure to love this as sure as a moose loves moose juice.