Broadway 2) Perpetual Motion 3) Gloving It 4) Improvisation 5) Ray Malone Softshoe 6) Two Quotations in Dialogue 7) 5/8 In Two Shades 8) Moondog's
Theme 9) In A Doorway 10) Duet 11) Trimbas in Quarters
12) Wildwood 13) Trimbas in Eighths 14) Organ Rounds
of Moondog” was Moondog’s third release in a little over a year.
It lacks the charm of his debut and the flashes of brilliance of his follow-up.
Instead this album feels like a been-there/done-that type of effort. Most
of the pieces are parallel percussion solos, with little or no purpose, and, aside from the opening and closing numbers, there
is virtually nothing on this album that breaks any kind of new ground. In fact,
a majority of this album is worse than that…it is just downright boring.
though is nowhere to be found on the first track. Supposedly capturing Moondog’s
impressions as he passed Birdland, the Jazz corner of the world, “Up Broadway” was unlike anything Moondog
had yet released. The piece opens and closes with street noises and tribal beats,
but somehow, in the middle, transforms into a swinging jazz rumbling: bouncing, hip, and the perfect stopped-at-a-stoplight
song. This is one of Moondog’s best overall efforts and a great, upbeat,
cooler than words tune. “Perpetual Motion” follows, and
sort of kills the vibe, by bringing back the windpipe sound of “More Moondog.” What are you supposed
to say about a track like this? It literally sounds exactly the same as about
five other Oo songs on his other records. “Gloving It,”
by contrast, is a series of percussion solos, simplistic, but actually very grooving.
It is so much better than the other instrumentals, mainly because it represents a new sound that Moondog has not overused.
is another very attractive song. It is a four-minute, solo, haunting, piano piece,
which could easily have been featured in an old horror flick. In fact, it seems
as if this section of music would perfectly mark the period of time right before the killer is going to strike. There is an off-putting, beautiful feel to the song as well though…like the killer is about to murder
a member of his own family. The eerie atmosphere is a welcomed highlight on an
album severely lacking in them. Demonstrating his lack of material, Moondog has
guest Ray Malone perform a “duet” with his tap-shoes on “Ray Malone Softshoe.” This is the third consecutive album that the pair had attempted this collaboration, and while the first
time was cute, by the third, it is more than tiresome. “Two Quotations
in Dialogue” is a peculiar thirty-second conversation between Moondog and two other people about having no answers
for anything, while the similar in length, “5/8 In Two Shades” is Moondog soloing with another of his
invented instruments called a Tuji. It sounds similar to all his other strange
soloings, too crazy to be catchy, but all about creating his usual odd aura.
“Moondog’s Theme” features a howling wolf, moaning overtop of Moondog’s normal pattern of
Oo and trimbas. The backbeat is all too familiar, but the wolf makes things slightly
disturbing, at least adding a little variety to the standard Moondog percussion piece.
Like “Up Broadway,” “In A Doorway” is another track featuring street sounds,
lasting over five minutes. Unlike the opening though, this is just another wandering
percussion solo…eh. One minute is one thing, but five minutes is more than
a little unreasonable. There are about seven false endings and each time makes
me more and more upset that it isn’t actually over.
sounds almost exactly like “Drum Suite” from “Moondog,” even featuring the
same guest musician Sam Ulano on Japanese drums. Again, who needs it? If you heard one, you don’t really need to hear another. “Trimbas
in Quarters” and “Trimbas in Eighths” are both about the same sort of boring drum pieces,
that I can’t tell apart…enough is enough already man. “Wildwood”
is an Indian chant, sounding authentic, with Moondog yelping, and adding some delicate recorder fills. It is scary, in a lunatic type way, but at least it breaks the monotony of those same sounding, endless
percussion offerings. “”Organ Rounds” closes out the
album with a great organ piece, sounding like the ending of “Super Mario Brothers.” Needless to say, it rules and acts as foreshadowing to Moondog’s later work.
If this is your first purchase
from the man, it won’t seem as dry, but this feels like a worse version of “More Moondog.” It seems that Moondog was out of ideas, so he just retraced his steps, sounding boring
and just threading water. Aside from the opening number, any of these songs could
be found on either of his first two albums, and if fact, they might very well have been, they sound that familiar. It is a shame that it took a dozen years for Moondog to release another album after this recording, but
the time off really gave him time to develop. While it isn’t terrible on
its own, “The Story of Moondog” is the worst record of Moondog’s career.