Moondog learned rhythm from American Indians and counterpoint from J.S. Bach. Many of his recordings feature instruments he built himself: trimba, yukh, tuji, oo. Sometimes you can hear in the background the streets of New York, where Moondog often slept rough (even though blind, since an accident when he was 15).
Sometime in the 1950s, fed up with being mistaken on the street for Christ — his regular busking spot was uptown on Sixth — Moondog put on a Viking costume, with spear and horned helmet; and he dressed like this till the late 1970s (by which time he was working with orchestras in Germany).
Igor Stravinsky lobbied a judge on Moondog’s behalf. Charlie Parker wanted to play with him (Julie Andrews did play with him), and he was feted by Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, Steve Reich. Andy Warhol’s mum designed one of his covers, and Weegee took photographs of him (included in the booklet). Janis Joplin covered him, Mr Scruff owes him badly, and Antony And The Johnsons does him live.
This is the first retrospective of Moondog’s music — thirty-six tracks from 1949 to 1995, most of them exceptionally rare and reissued now for the first time, all of them miraculous.
‘This selection of 36 of his pieces for percussion, brass and the odd howling canine, and occasional, madrigal-like songs, is both ethereal and earthy, sounding old as the hills and utterly out of time. Sometimes it’s almost jazz, mostly it’s that rare thing in music: unique. Moondog was a creature of an entirely lost New York’ (The Guardian).
‘... utterly contemporary — invoking trance, fidgety electronica, spooky folk and oriental drones… Highly recommended’ (Time Out).
‘One thing’s for certain: you can buy this album secure in the knowledge that nothing else in your collection sounds remotely like it. Go on, surprise yourself’ (Observer Music Monthly).
A1. Theme And Variations
A2. Down Is Up
A4. Big Cat
A5. Oo Debut
A6. Lament 1 'Bird's Lament'
A7. Moondog's Symphony 1 (Timberwolf)
A8. Moondog's Symphony 2 (Sagebrush)
A9. Rabbit Hop
A11. Snaketime Rhythm
B1. Instrumental Round
B2. Double Bass Duo
B3. Why Spend The Dark Night With You
B4. All Is Loneliness
B5. Snaketime Rhythm
B6. Dragon's Teeth
B7. Oboe Round
B8. Be A Hobo
B9. Dog Trot
C1. Avenue Of The Americas
C2. 2 W 46th Street
C3. Lullaby (2 W 46th Street)
C4. Fog On The Hudson (425 W 57th Street)
C6. On And Off The Beat
C8. From One To Nine
C9. Improvisation In 4/4
C10. Enough About Human Rights!
C11. Viking 1
D1. Chaconne In G Major
Format: 2 x 12-inch Vinyl LP
Label: Honest Jons Records
Genre: Alternative / Jazz / Classical