aus / from: Los Angeles Free Press No. 12, 1971

Chris Van Ness
Record Review MOONDOG 2, Columbia KC - 30 897

This is a magic album. If you allow yourself to remain open to Moondog's music and lyrics, this album can lull you into a kind of peacefulness to the point where you would hope that the music would go on forever.

There is really no way to put into words the beauty contained in these grooves; the album must be listened to to be appreciated.

Moondog, born LOUIS HARDIN, is a blind musician who has been living on and of the sidewalks of New York for the last twenty years or so. Until he was "discovered" three years ago by Jimmy Guercio (producer of B.S.&T. and 'Chicago'), he was regarded as little more than an interesting freak on the New York streetscene. Guercio produced his first album which was an uneven albeit very interesting effort, but it did finally give Moondog a chance to gain some serious recognition for his music.

For this, the second album, we have a collection of twenty-five rounds or as the composer calls them "Moondog Madrigals". The round (e.g. "Three Blind Mice" or "Row, Row, Row Your Boat") is one of the easiest musical forms, but although very simple in concept, it can be a very intricate piece of music in the hands of a skillfull musical technician, as Hardin has proven himself to be.

Using primarily 5/4 and 7/4 metric signatures, Hardin has blended technical wizardry with the soul of a human magician and came up with twenty-six (twenty-five rounds plus a beautiful instrumental "Pastorale" played on a solo folk harp) pieces of music that are classic in feeling yet universal in tone and texture. With a bow to Monteverdi, the composer has taken the simplest of melodic lines and, through inversions and the breaking of a few basic rules formed his own language that can communicate on both the most basic and grandest of human levels.

As if musical accomplishments weren' t enough, Hardin has also distinguished himself as a very fine poet. As compared with the poetry that passes for popular lyrics today, Hardin's lyrics are like the most delicate of haiku. For example, Round No. 6 is "I love you for your lovely still small voice / and will love your still small voice / 'til / my voice / is still." Or Round No. 4: "Behold the willow bows before me / But not the oak, I'm uprooting / remarked the wind."

All the vocals are perfectly and delicately handled by Hardin and his daughter, June. The instrumentation is authentic Renaissance pieces augmented by Hardin's own peculiar percussion.

All is perfect, and the album is magic.