01. Caribea (1:33)
02. Lullaby (2:17)
03. Tree Trail (2:19)
04. Death, When You Come To Me (2:06)
05. Big Cat (1:53)
06. Frog Bog (2:12)
07. To A Sea Horse (1:46)
08. Dance Rehearsal (:55)
09. Surf Session (6:58)
10. Trees Against The Sky (:52)
11. Tap Dance (1:20)
12. Oo Debut (1:11)
13. Drum Suite (2:20)
14. Street Scene (3:38)
Recorded in New York City; 1956
Prestige Records, Fantasy 1990
Original Jazz Classics OJCCD 1741-2
OJC Ltd. Ed.
Previously released on Prestige as PR 7042
Moondog (Louis Hardin), oo, perc, p, trimbas, voc
Suzuko (Mrs. Moondog), voc
Sakura Whiteing, narrator
Ray Malone, dance
Sam Ulano, d
Sometimes, MOONDOG the enigma, defeats an unprejudiced view of his music. But, if we ignore the cloak of seeming inscrutability and concentrate on the music, the experience can be astonishing.
MOONDOG possesses an admirable virtue; he perceives music everywhere in life. The collection of vignettes contained in this album are fully realized attempts to integrate music and sound. Music and life´s sounds are inseparable to MOONDOG. Thus, the complete LULLABY contains the cry of the baby; a string duo appears comfortably at home in a FROG BOG setting; a New York STREET SCENE includes (American Indian inspired) drum solos, the wisdom of a far eastern philosopher, and the strident blowing of a police whistle commencing the flow of traffic.
A vast amount of the world´s music is part of MOONDOG´S working vocabulary. This reservoir of material serves his eclectic approach to composition. MOONDOG chooses deftly amongst all of music to elicit his surprising couplings. A pair of violins bowing Bach influenced counterpoint might be heard over a rhythmic pattern of Cuban drumming. The ability to find unexpectedly complementary areas of music is an essential ingredient in these miniature portraits of life´s many parts.
MOONDOG, the man (like his music) is a satisfying blend of many fibres. To many of New York´s millions. MOONDOG´S vigil on street concerns presents an extraordinary contrast to his physical background. Dressed in his famous army blankets. MOONDOG´S handsome visage and Royal Hussars´ physique challenges the steel towers amongst which he has chosen to dwell. While selling the sheets of his music, hung around his waist, his active hands are inconspicuously composing new music on a braille boord, discreetly hidden under the folds of his protective garments. At night, from well chosen sites, MOONDOG the street musician, performs on his singular assortment of instruments. Using a maraca and a clava as drumsticks. he plays upon two triangular-shaped drums. With his self-styled instrumentation he obtains a music both melodic and rhythmic in structure. The countless hours spent by MOONDOG on the streets of New York provides a constant stream of material for this great silent observer. MOONDOG´S music is what he has found in the world in which he lives. Through him we can view the world in a more perfect form.
Notes by Robert S. Altshuler
Recorded in New York City 1956
Review by Richie Unterberger
By the standards of the mid-'50s, or indeed or 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.