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The German Years

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Album Review

This deluxe double-disc box from Germany's Roof Music contains a collection of Louis Thomas Hardin's music recorded from 1977-1999 entitled The German Years as well as a second disc entitled The Last Concert, Mimi-Festival 1999. There are 44 pages of liner notes that lovingly put the complex music into as much perspective as possible, though it is up to the listener to diligently explore the lifework of this creative and unique individual. "High On a Rocky Ledge" could be John Cale in his sixth decade and is a highlight. This track and "Do Your Thing," "I'm This I'm That," and "Pygmy Pig" are culled from 1979's H'Art Songs album, one of seven different sources for the music on disc one. The performances are as delightfully diverse as the titles and keep one's attention as the parade of ideas unfolds. "Heimdall Fanfare" is a completely different outing from "Fujiyama 2 (Lovesong)," while "Do Your Thing" could certainly have found some kind of commercial success had some publisher gotten it into a film soundtrack — or had Janis Joplin lived long enough to cover more of Moondog's compositions. The concert on disc two flows seamlessly from disc one and is so perfect that it sounds like a studio recording, except for the applause. Performed on August 1, 1999, five weeks before his passing on September 8 of that year, it is an amazing "bookend" to this compilation. Berthold Klostermann's 13-page biography is combined with a chronology, six pages on the music from the first CD, and a discussion of Moondog's work by the man himself, and there are other essays on the pages inside, making this a real treasure chest of photographs and information. The detailed liners along with the two-plus hours of listening housed in a beautiful hard cardboard package make for an extraordinary work of art.


Born: May 26, 1916 in Marysville, KS

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

A mostly self-taught composer, Louis Hardin was born in Marysville, KS on May 26, 1916. The family eventually moved to Wyoming, where his father, who had been an Episcopalian minister, opened a trading post at Fort Bridger, and had two different ranches. Young Hardin went to school in a log cabin in Burnt Fork, WY, and fished, hunted, and trapped. Later, he rode a horse to school in Long Tree, a cattle community. He wrote that his first drum set " the age of five, was a cardboard box". He also...
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The German Years, Moondog
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