- Released: October 30, 2000
- Label: Bgo - Beat Goes On
Uncut - 11/01, p.1204 stars out of 5
- "...To contemporary ears, the romantic themes and awkward jaunty rhythms of MOONDOG still sound innovative....MOONDOG 2 is cosmic chamber music..."
- 2.Stamping Ground
- 3.Symphonique # 3
- 4.Symphonique # 6
- 5.Minisym # 1
- 6.Lament 1
- 7.Witch of Endor
- 8.Symphonique # 1
- 9.Bells Are Ringing
- 10.Voices of Spring
- 11.What's the Most Exciting Thing
- 12.All Is Loneliness
- 13.My Tiny Butterfly
- 14.Why Spend a Dark Night With Me
- 15.Coffee Beans
- 16.Down Is Up
- 17.Be a Hobo
- 19.I Love You
- 20.Nero's Expedition
- 21.No the Wheel Was Never Invented
- 22.With My Wealth
- 23.This Student of Life
- 24.Some Trust All
- 25.Wine Women and Song
- 28.Each Todya Is Yesterday's Tomorrow
- 30.You the Vandal
- 31.Trees Against the Sky
2 LPs on 1 CD: MOONDOG I (1969)/MOONDOG II (1970).
Personnel: Louis Hardin (vocals, percussion); Eugene Becker, Raoul Poliakin (tenor, viola); Aaron Rosand , Paul Gershman (violin); David Schwartz, Emanuel Vardi (viola); Charles McCracken , George Ricci (cello); Harold Bennett, Andrew Lolya (flute); Hubert Laws, Harold Jones (piccolo); George Silfies, Jimmy Abato, Phil Bodner (clarinet); Ernie Bright (bass clarinet); Irving Horowitz (English horn); Wally Kane (bassoon, baritone saxophone); Don Macourt, George Berg, Jack Knitzer (bassoon); Joe Wilder (trumpet, flugelhorn); Teddy Weiss, Alan Dean, Melvin Broiles (trumpet); Danny Repole (bass trumpet); Richard Berg, Brooks Tillotson, James Buffington, Ray Alonge (French horn); Charles Small, Tony Studd, Buddy Morrow (trombone); Paul Faulise (bass trombone); Bill Stanley (tuba, tenor tuba); Phil Giardina, Don Butterfield (tuba); John Swallow, Bill Elton (tenor tuba); Jack Jennings, Elayne Jones, Dave Carey , James William Guercio, Bobby Rosengarden (percussion).
Liner Note Author: Alan Clayson.
Recording information: 30th Street Studios.
Photographers: Don Hunstein; Fred Lombardi.
In the early 1990s, Sony did issue a CD which combined the two albums they made in 1969 and 1971 with "classicist at heart" street musician Louis Hardin, better known as Moondog. The Sony reissue arrived at a time when interest in Moondog was at an all-time low, as he had lived in Germany for two decades and his popular first Columbia album had been out of print for nearly half that time; while his second album was so obscure it barely survived its initial release. This BGO Records reissue of same, Moondog/Moondog 2 debuted in England literally on the heels of news of Hardin's passing in 1999, and it is hard not to fault them for cashing in on stakes made liquid by the ever-unpredictable vicissitudes of the grim reaper. On the other hand, it is nice to have these two recordings available again, and as both albums were short to start with, both made for CBS, and both produced by James William Guercio, it is only natural that they should be combined onto one CD.
The first LP, Moondog, features Moondog jamming with some of the top-flight studio musicians in New York on his own charts in an ambitiously scored bag reminiscent of a forgotten Epic LP from the '50s, Moondog and His Friends -- difficult to reissue as, like its successors, it's really, really short. The second, the inaccurately titled Moondog 2, consists of 26 canons drawn from his first two collections of 100 canons each, composed in the '50s and '60s and printed up in editions Hardin sold hand to hand on the street. These are performed by a small group led by Hardin and include then-wife June Hardin, a small band of period instrument musicians, and Guercio himself pitching in with the percussion. The vast majority of critical notices you may read on these two albums favor the better selling Moondog over Moondog 2, but present company tends toward Moondog 2. It seems to epitomize Hardin's recorded work in regard to his "Art of the Canon," and serves to summarize this particular period in Hardin's development, given the dearth of any live recordings from this time. One aspect of Hardin's work for CBS that is intriguing is how well he and Guercio utilized the resources on hand at Columbia and how the Moondog fit into the CBS of the time. Some of the things on Moondog 2 are not terribly far away musically from what quirky pop groups like Matching Mole and Gentle Giant were recording on contemporary CBS albums that sold equally poorly, and at times Hardin's voice sounds coincidentally a little like Robert Wyatt's. Of course, in hindsight we recognize how great all of this stuff is, whereas in its time a lot of it went unrecognized by critics and public alike as the hippie-driven music scene gave way to the Nixon era.
For many listeners, the first Moondog CBS album is his defining statement, even as what came before, and after, broaden the picture of Hardin's output considerably. To have a package like Moondog/Moondog 2 available is almost too good to be true, as it both delivers the basic goods on Hardin and opens the door to a broader appreciation of the truly special circumstance that was Moondog. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis