The best albums ever ... honest

Compiled and written by David Keenan

H'art Songs

Moondog, aka Louis Hardin, was a remarkable character - a mystic theologian, an American hobo in the great tradition of Jack Kerouac and an eternal voice of hope for oddballs the world over. With his long beard and sackcloth robes, he was described as Christ-like so often that he took to wearing a Viking raider's costume. All through his life, he was deeply opposed to Christianity's world domination. He cut some early sides for the Prestige label and collaborated with Julie Andrews and Tiny Tim before being embraced by the 1960s counterculture. Up until his death in 1999, he continued to amass a back catalogue that ran right across the map, from beautiful melodic symphonies through big-band jazz and small avant-pop songs - a collection that is one of the most idiosyncratic and spiritually rewarding bodies of work of the 20th century. The 1979 album H'Art Songs is a great place to start. The 10 superficially simplistic piano-led pop songs, with lyrics like diamond-sharp haiku, open out with each listen to reveal a musical aesthetic as melodically complex as Johann Sebastian Bach's.