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Album Review

Moondog's second Prestige album solidified his standing as a rare breed: a musician whose work was both highly experimental and approachable by listeners without a taste for the avant-garde. That's what enabled him to make a living as a street musician in Manhattan, after all. On this album he produced a variety of wonderful shaking percussion sounds and rhythms with an oo (a triangular stringed instrument struck with a clave) and even "Ostrich Feathers Played on Drum" (as the title on one track reads). The percussion is sometimes backed by sparse, Asian-sounding melodies, and there are also unpredictable interludes of solo piano, street sounds, and an eight-minute "Moondog Monologue." One of the round-like vocal numbers, the minute-long and inexpressibly sad "All Is Loneliness," found an unexpected second life in the 1960s when it was covered by Big Brother & the Holding Company. The album is now available as part of a single-disc CD reissue that also includes the whole of his subsequent Prestige album, The Story of Moondog (1957).

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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