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Moondog

Moondog

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Album Review

By the standards of the mid-'50s, or indeed of any era, this was so far-out and uncommercial that it's difficult to believe it was even released. Moondog, by this time well known as a New York street musician, drives these pieces along with maraca and clava percussion, often in odd time signatures. The percussion lines are the backbone for unusual melodies, often Asian- or Japanese-inspired, with a movingly mournful (but not unappealing) quality. Washes of wind-like sounds and animal noises are often used to embellish the pieces. Bits of "Tree Trail" and "Frog Bog" even come close to exotica, but this ain't no Martin Denny (who, of course, was also using frog noises on record around this time); Moondog's music is much less frivolous in intention, and the round-like repetition that flavors all his work is present through most of this disc. To add to the unpredictability of the proceedings, there's a Japanese lullaby (sung by Moondog's wife Suzuko), a percussive duet between Moondog and tap dancer Ray Malone, tribal/Cuban drum passages, and a "Street Scene" track that mixes Moondog's drums and poetry with Manhattan traffic. All very enigmatic yet attention-holding stuff, ripe for discovery by new generations that will appreciate his defiantly idiosyncratic mix of styles and formats.

Biography

Born: 26 May 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 " ...at the age of five, was a cardboard box". He also...
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Moondog, Moondog
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