Notes from the Mars release:
"Moondog on the Streets of New York" is the second presentation in a series of on-the-street recordings made as a part of my project in New York 19. While working on this projekt of recording the folk expression of the comminity in which I live, I recorded many street musicans of whom Moondog was the most unique.
Moondog, born in 1917, is a blind street musican who was born in Kansas and raised in Indian country in Wyoming. He was influenced by both Oriental and Occidental music. Snake time is the name he has given to the type of music he writes and playes. It is blending of primitive and classical elements.
Moondog came to New York in 1943 to establish himself as a composer. He designs, makes and writes music for many of the intruments he playes. The Oo, Utsu and Uni are introduced in this record.
Suzuko, Moondog´s wife, who has transcribed much of his music, sings and accompanies him in serveral of these selections.
I have selected the music on this record from the many on location recordings I have made of Moondog since his arrival in New York.
(Recorded and edited by Tony Schwartz)
Notes from the London release:
Moondog is an itinerant musician-composer, who has appeared on the sidewalks of various parts of mid-town New York playing his original compositions on seldom heard instruments - several of which are of his own invention. Apart from the appeal he has had with sidewalk audiences, he has also attracted important attention from serious music students and composers who have evaluated his unique perception of melodies and rhythms as possessing academic qualities commensurate with the progress made by the "avant garde" composers. That Moondog has found it necessary to resort to sidewalk concerts is not a reflection on his ability, but possibly a commentary on the status of young composers in America, according to one group of disciples.
On the streets of new York was recorded by Tony Schwartz as part of his project called New York 19. The music heard in the EP is the result of recording and editing several hours of taped music in order to cull the most unusual. In this record, Moondog plays several new instruments - the "oo", the utsu", and the "samisen". In one composition, recorded near the Hudson River piers, the tugboat and ocean liners' whistles and foghorns complement the composition, while Moondog plays and improvises; in another work, the actual sound of New York traffic - automobile motors, taxi horns, sounds of brakes, etc. - is used similarly. The record includes six other works, one featuring his wife, Suzuko.
Moondog was born Louis Thomas Hardin, in Kansas in 1917. His parents were missionaries and he spent most of his youth in Indian reservations in the West. At the age of sixteen, he became blind and about the same time became interested in music. Influence of the primitive surroundings of his early environment is evidenced in his compositions. He can play, in addition to the various instruments heard on his records, piano, organ, clarinet, all the string instruments and most of the other woodwind instruments. He lives in New York with his wife, Suzuko. She is capable of singing in three octaves, and lately figures prominently as vocalist on his recordings and in appearances.