Kieran Moore – If I was ever going to design a crest for my family I’d have to think long and hard about what emblems to use, but I know straight away what the motto would be: “Nos Omnes Mortui Cras”. You see, my Dad is a lot like today’s subject – Boober Fraggle. He likes to cook (having previously been a pastry chef), and his skills with laundry detergent are second to none (having previously been a Dad to six kids). Like Boober he also seems to relish the opportunity to worry about his health, but where the similarity really lies is in his disposition – he is the eternal pessimist. In fact, “Nos Omnes Mortui Cras” is the Latin translation of what I’m sure must be his most common utterance – “We could all be dead tomorrow…”
To be fair to Dad, he doesn’t always mean it as negatively as it reads and I’m sure he and Boober would class themselves as realistic rather than pessimistic. And that’s probably true, despite their reputations neither is as gloomy as they appear to be and they both know how to have a good time. In fact for a guy who enjoys the “sad, maudlin quality” of a funeral dirge (Boober – not my Dad) there are a surprising number of upbeat songs on this list…
10 – Remembering Song (Na-Na-Na) – Boober Fraggle and Wembley Fraggle
Despite being part of the “Fraggle Five”, Boober is sometimes seen as a loner within the Fraggle race and Wembley is Gobo’s best friend. In most kids shows those two facts would be enough to keep these guys apart and yet in Fraggle Rock they are firm friends and often have their own adventures. I’ve always really liked the Boober/Wembley relationship – one character is self-assured and low-key and the other is indecisive and excitable; it’s a great dynamic and they do it so well. I love the way this song slowly devolves as the guys remember less and less! Dave Goelz (as Boober) and Steve Whitmire (as Wembley) harmonize beautifully and the rolling guitar line reminds me of “Our Melody”. So what’s not to love? I don’t think I can remember…
9 – Talkin’ ‘Bout Germs – Boober Fraggle and Wembley Fraggle
It’s Boober and Wembley again! I guess I really do love these two together. Boober is always worrying about his health, however according to his write-up on Henson.com rather than being a hypochondriac he claims to be practising the symptoms of illness so that’s he’s ready for when they inevitably strike! This stirring blues number is his way of warning Wembley all about germs and the evil that they spread… I love the blues and this genre of music seems purpose made for Boober. As this song shows with his neuroses and outlook on life it’s easy to “see a guy that green have the blues so bad!” you just have to know where to look! Talking of blues and greens I’m a sucker for a bit of blue/green screen Muppetry so I really enjoy the imaginary germs in this number. If they didn’t scare a few kids into washing their hands I don’t know what did!
8 – Friendship Song – Boober Fraggle and Red Fraggle
I can’t express how much I love The Friendship Song. It’s a previous number one and in my recent anniversary rundown actually came out at number six overall. With stats like those words are almost unnecessary, but without them this’ll be a real short paragraph so I guess I’d better try. Looking at this from a Boober point of view there are two things that I find particularly noteworthy. First is the fact that this tender moment is shared with Red; Boober often finds her enthusiasm tiresome so I like that when the chips are down they are able to be there for each other and find the places where they meet in the middle. Second, it’s interesting to see how Boober reacts when he’s in a real life and death situation. Far from being scared he finds an inner bravery. His practice worrying when it’s not warranted means that when the correct time does eventually come he can be focused and ready. It’s a great bit of characterization.
7 – Party Hard (Who Knows What You See) – Boober Fraggle and Sidebottom (Song starts at 20:07)
There are a number of Muppets with alter egos; Grover has Super Grover, Cookie Monster has Alistair Cookie and Rowlf has Dr. Bob, but none of them are quite like Boober’s. Sidebottom is the physical manifestation of Boober’s fun side, which is kept down at the bottom (hence the name). On the outside Sidebottom seems to be everything that Boober isn’t – he’s fun, carefree and light hearted – but without getting too bogged down in the psychology of it all it’s important to remember that he’s just another part of Boober’s personality. This song reminds us of their differences and how they can both find a place together to make one whole. It’s a jaunty number that is sung superbly by both Dave Goelz and Dave Goelz – what a team he makes!
6 – Get Blue (Goin’ Down the Road) – Boober Fraggle and Cave Creatures
As we hit the fifth song on the chart we’re firmly back in blues territory. However, this has a rootsy feel with its twangy guitars so it brings to mind the old adage about being one dead dog away from a country song! Boober’s really got it bad here, so much so that he doesn’t even want backing singers. I think we’ve all felt like we’re so unhappy we can’t even bear to be around other miserable people in the past – I know I have. This song is sadly much too short, but what it loses in length it makes up for in feeling; not just in terms of the lyrics, but with the music as well – the twangy guitars I mentioned earlier actually sound sarcastic. It’s the string version of the sad trombone!
5 – Dump the Stuff Out (Yucky For Sure) – Boober Fraggle, Gobo Fraggle and Wembley Fraggle
There’s something of the sea shanty about the chorus to this – as someone who’s sung his fair share that tickles me. This song scores so highly not just because I can appreciate it as the land-locked salty sea-dog I am, but also because it makes me laugh. Is there anything funnier than a soufflé walking out the door? If there is I can’t think of it right now. I’m slightly disappointed to see that The Soufflé doesn’t have a Muppet Wiki page. Surely he is one of the most undervalued characters anywhere in Muppet history. I will not rest until baked goods are treated equally by Muppet fans! Some of Boober’s concoctions definitely sound interesting, but this comes from a guy who ate liver cake a few days ago so I might not be the best judge. I’m really enjoying the harmonies here from the three main guys – they sound so good together and Gobo and Wembley’s dancing is a thing of beauty.
4 – It Makes You Cry – Boober Fraggle
I tell you one thing that makes me cry – the fact that this song doesn’t have an entry on Muppet Wiki. All joking about soufflés aside, I can’t believe this has never been added. By way of mitigation it could be argued that it’s essentially another version of “We’re Part of Each Other”, but I really think this should be treated as its own piece. If anything it’s the other way around and “We’re Part of Each Other” is an upbeat reprise of this. Anyway I’ll get of my soapbox… This is a sweet ballad that I think speaks to us all on some level. This could be taken straight out of Fraggle Rock and still make sense and that’s the hallmark of a great song. Its short length is both a terrible shame and one of the things I love about it. The moment when Boober breaks down just hits me in the heart.
3 – The Gypsy Song (I Sniff the Rose) – Boober Fraggle and Sidebottom
When I was very young my school Principal played the violin and he would perform a song very similar to this as part of our end of year concert. If you imagine the Peter Sellers performance in “The Muppet Show” you’ll get the idea and I wonder if that early influence is part of the reason why I love this song so much. I think it’s awesome – I really do! The chorus has shades of Cyrano de Bergerac (or Roxanne if you prefer your references to be of the 80s comedy kind) with Sidebottom leading Boober through the lyrics, but that is only the start of why I love it. Boober (and Dave Goelz) do a great cod gypsy accent (that I’m not sure would fly now) and the ending which gets faster and faster towards Boober’s eventual meeting with the real Gypsy Lady is absolutely the best. Just take a look at the musical genres featured so far (and yet to come) and then try telling me Fraggle Rock is “just” a kids’ show!
2 – I’m Never Alone – Boober Fraggle
This song appeared at position number five on my Dave Goelz chart back in the day so I’m pleased to be able to promote it to second place here. This bright and breezy song is such a departure in style for Boober that it instantly stands out as something different. Visually it’s pretty unique too as it has a music video quality that is unusual for Fraggle Rock. I guess the imaginary part of this song lends itself to that style. It’s interesting to note that this episode predates Sidebottom’s first appearance on the show (by a few episodes) so this is our first glimpse of this side of Boober. It’s also interesting that this only really comes out when he’s alone (despite the lyrics telling you otherwise). I guess Boober is like an onion with many layers. Finally, Dave Goelz gives a superb comedic performance as Boober here – it’s such a treat to see them both having fun!
1 – Dixie Wailin’ – Boober Fraggle, Red Fraggle, Gobo Fraggle and Junior Gorg
By my old rules this song wouldn’t really be counted as a Boober song as he doesn’t sing enough, but things are a little more relaxed now and if this isn’t a Boober song then I don’t know what is – he wrote it after all! Furthermore, and this is most important, I’ve been looking for an excuse to have this song at number one for the last 50+ weeks so I’m putting my fingers in my ears and not listening to whatever it is you have to say! This is genuinely in my top 3 Muppet songs ever and words can’t express how much I love it. As some of you might know I sing in an a cappella trio and Dixie Wailin’ is included on our upcoming album so it’s impossible for me not to be slightly biased towards it (especially since I sing lead)! Only Fraggle Rock could get away with putting the “fun” into “funeral” on a kids’ show. This level of sophistication is just one of the reasons I love it so much. The Dixie jazz vibe is perfect and I can imagine this being performed on the streets of New Orleans quite easily. One day I’d love to hear Boober’s solo version, but in the meantime I’ll simply dig this “funeral dirge you can dance to.”
Boober is such a special guy and I know that Fraggle Rock would be a very different place without him. Ironically for a guy who can be so downbeat I actually think it would be sadder, duller and nowhere near as fun. As I said at the very start Boober is a realist and in a fantasy show such as Fraggle Rock I think that’s a very important thing to have in the cast. He helps to keep things grounded and, although we know it from Doc and Sprocket, he reminds us that Fraggle Rock is part of the real world. Sure there are plants that emit smoke to make you forget and soufflés with the ability to get up and walk, but there are also germs and dirty socks and funeral dirges. Boober lets us know that these things are all ok. And I guess that’s what my Dad does too so I have to thank him along with Boober for reminding me that “We could all be dead tomorrow”. It’s a mantra I can take to the grave! Thank you guys.