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Moondog

Rate It! Avg: 4.0 (88 ratings)

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Moondog album cover
01
Caribea
1:33  
02
Lullaby
2:16  
03
Tree Trail
2:18  
04
Death, When You Come To Me
2:06  
05
Big Cat
1:52  
06
Frog Bog
2:12  
07
To A Sea Horse
1:45  
08
Dance Rehearsal
0:54  
09
Surf Session
6:58  
10
Trees Against The Sky
0:52  
11
Tap Dance
1:19  
12
Oo Debut
1:10  
13
Drum Suite
2:20  
14
Street Scene
3:37  
Album Information
EDITOR'S PICK

Total Tracks: 14   Total Length: 31:12

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I know very little

rtorzynski

about Moondog except a few things I read, but he was 50 years ahead of his time. Surf Session, Frog Bog, it's all great. This album could easily be background music for a major motion picture (for what it's worth). The man was a creative genius.

user avatar

Exotica

djFLWB

So did Moondog influence Martin Denny or the vice versa?

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For the crate diggers

NutritionOnTape

It won't be everyone's cup of tea but I think this is quite rare a find. For example : The track "Tap Dance" is 1minute20 of pure percussion with the taps of a real tap dancer. Many moments on this album remind me of listening exercises from a children's music class and the recordings have a lovely 50's warmth to them.

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Welcome to far east NYC

Svend-G

Like many other Moondog recordings this one includes New York City street sounds and metros passing. Certainly not for jazz puritists! But if you dig simple melodies/instrumentation and good groove combined with the sounds of The East, then this one is for you.

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Charmingly hard to place

LittleRage

Like a bag of candy in its multivariate smells and colors, this album is filled out with a wide spectrum of sounds: the sounds of birds, babies mixed with guitars and pianos and an overly charming personality make this album one in a million. It has a field recording feel, but the melodic movements are simple enough that this album remains accessible to even the impatient. Highly recommended for fans of art radio, street recordings, and eastern melodies in general.

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Far-out but serene

carfare

This disc is a perfect introduction to Moondog. The largely instrumental pieces are short, with strong percussion lines, and one or two instruments (piano, flute, violin, other exotic stringed things—sometimes of his own invention) playing melodies with a strong Eastern flavor. There’s also a fair amount of taped sounds—a baby, birds, street noise, a big cat. It’s far-out, to be sure, but there’s also a serenity about it. He may have liked to dress like a Viking, but the King of 6th Avenue knew exactly what he was doing.

They Say All Music Guide

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. – Richie Unterberger

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