Queen Elizabeth Whistle And Bamboo Pipe 2) Conversation And Music At 51st Street and 6th Avenue (New York City)
3) Hardshoe (7/4) Ray Malone 4) Tugboat Toccata 5) Autumn 6) Seven Beat Suite
(3 Parts) 7) Oo Solo (6/4) 8) Rehearsal of Violetta's "Barefoot Dance" 9) Oo Solo (2/4) 10) Ostrich
Feathers Played On Drum 11) Oboe Round 12) Chant 13) All Is Loneliness
14) Sextet (Oo) 15) Fiesta Piano Solo 16) Moondog Monologue
second record, accurately titled “More Moondog,” is less accessible than his debut, but even
more off the wall. Here, Moondog almost completely abandons the strings and flutes
that made his first album so charming, concentrating more on his percussion, piano, and avant-garde recorded noises. While this album is inferior as a whole to his debut, it does possess two of Moondog’s
most intriguing songs, and as the linear notes state, this is “world music from a world of Moondog’s own.”
The opening “Duet:
Queen Elizabeth Whistle And Bamboo Pipe” is exactly as it sounds…Moondog plays a bamboo pipe in harmony to
an ocean liner’s horn. While it isn’t really offensive, and is less
than a minute, this “tune” is nothing but a fairly boring mood setter. In
1956 it probably was ridiculously radical, but it doesn’t change that fact that it is pretty pointless from an entertainment
point of view. “Conversation And Music at 51st Street &
6th Avenue (New York City)” sound similar to his previous album, but instead of strings or a recorder,
Moondog sounds like he is playing the windpipes. The melody is catchy and fascinating,
but end too quickly to be fully appreciated.
a majority of songs on the rest of the album consist of mostly dull percussion experiments.
“Hardshore (7/4) Ray Malone” is another tap dancing piece with Malone, similar to the first album,
but much more agreeable. It still isn’t anything remarkable, and in fact,
just when Malone really starts to get into it, the track ends. “Seven
Beat Suite (3 Parts)” is a two-minute drum solo broken into three distinct parts.
The second portion is by far the best with its urgent mood and pulsating pace.
“Oo Solo (6/4)” follows the debut’s attempt to capture the strange sounds of Moondog’s
homemade instrument. This is much more melodic and effective than his first attempts…the
melody is soothing, sounding like the flow of a stream, making this one of the better percussion pieces.
Things don’t really
pick up from there though as “Rehearsal of Violetta’s 'Barefoot Dance'" is a recording of Moondog playing
tug-of-war with a dog over a piece of candy. This isn’t really music, but
is funny, and it is hard to tell, but I think Moondog looses. “Oo Solo
(2/4)” is a second solo on the Oo, while “Ostrich Feathers Played On Drum” is exactly what
it says it is, lasting only twenty-five seconds and sounding oddly like a bird flapping its wings. The third Oo solo, entitled “Sextet (Oo),” is probably the best one of the three,
but really, I can’t tell the difference between any of them and only picked this one as best cause it has sex in the
Continuing with the strange
percussion pieces, “Chant” is a reproduction of a Native American chant, and “Oboe Round”
features a few Eastern sounding oboes circling around one pounding deep blast from an oboe.
It reminds me of that part in “Dumb and Dumber” when Lloyd says, “You wanna hear the most
annoying noise in the world?” It isn’t quite that bad, but close. If the album only included these kinds of tracks it would not be worth listening to,
let alone buying, but thankfully, Moondog added some amazingly clever works, that expanded on the tracks heard on his debut.
than anything on “Moondog,” “Tugboat Toccata” is a hastily pounded swirling
piano that seems to go in and out of time, slowly building an off-putting aura, sandwiched between two eerie boat horns. This is the kind of sound that would have been nice to hear over the length of the
entire album; a melodic, challenging listen. “Autumn” follows
suit and features various rattles acting as percussion with strange horns playing a beautiful melody. It is a shame this track is just over two minutes as it really has a compelling and comforting feel.
Is Loneliness” is regrettably only fifty seven seconds long. It features
Moondog singing in a spiraling pattern about how “all there is loneliness here for me” and is sung in the Native
chant style. It is heartbreaking and so desperate that it simply rules. Big Brother and the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin) later covered this on
their debut album in 1967, but Moondog was never given any royalties. “Fiesta
Piano Solo” is a great little runaround on the piano. It could easily
soundtrack a car chase seen in an old 1930s movie and is one of the better tracks here, just so bouncy and odd.
Odd doesn’t even begin
to describe the closing eight and a half minute epic “Moondog Monologue” though. This tune is just Moondog speaking rhythmically overtop of his usual drumming and strange Oo percussion. Neither the melody, nor Moondog’s voice change, causing a strange, hypnotic
grab at your eardrums—you can’t not listen. Some of the lines Moondog
speaks are pure poetry, some are more political, and others are just wonderful little turns of a phrase:
I do not dress the way I
do to attract attention,
I attract attention
because I dress as I do.
You the vandal, plunder the
village as you will,
the earthworm will pillage
you the vandal when you are under.
I would bow down before just
one who bows
I should know who that one
might be who could do that to me…
I am that one and I bow down
If on this rock I stand alone,
loneliness were turn heel
as he turns to stone.
My tiny butterfly butters
my briny flutterby
keeps me well fed.
Why should I mutter?
This one wish is ever so
near to my heart
but oh so far away from my
As a whole, “More
Moondog” is an uneven album, nowhere near as charming as his debut, but I’d still recommend buying it
for the sheer bizarre atmosphere. Coming out in 1956, this had to be one of the
strangest pieces of music marketed and, based on its dismal sales, it is amazing that Prestige recorded Moondog one last time
the following year. Still, no Moondog collection is complete without owning this unconventional, sometimes annoying, but ultimately unforgetable album.