|Review||by Joe Viglione|
This deluxe double-disc box from Germany's Roof Music contains a collection of Louis Thomas Hardin's music recorded from 1977-1999 entitled The German Years as well as a second disc, The Last Concert, Mimi-Festival 1999. 44 pages of liner notes lovingly put the complex music into as much perspective as possible, though it is up to the listener to diligently explore this creative and unique individual's lifeswork. "High On A Rocky Ledge" could be John Cale in his sixth decade and is a highlight. It, along with "Do Your Thing", "I'm This I'm That" and "Pygmy Pig", culled from 1979's H'art Songs album, one of seven different sources utilized comprising the music on disc 1. The performances are as delightfully diverse as the titles and keeps one's attention as the parade of ideas unfold. "Heimdall Fanfare" is a completely different outing from "Fujiyama 2 (Lovesong)" while "Do Your Thing" could certainly have found some kind of commercial success had some publisher got it into a film soundtrack - or had Janis Joplin lived long enough to cover more of Moondog's compositions. The concert on disc 2 flows seamlessly from disc 1 and is so perfect it sounds like a studio recording except for the applause. Performed on August 1, 1999, five weeks before his passing on September 8th, it is an amazing "bookend" to this compilation. Berthold Klostermann's 13 page biography is combined with a chronology, six pages on the music from CD1, Moondog discussing his work as well as other essays on the pages inside making this a real treasure chest of photographs and information. The detailed liners along with the two hours plus of listening housed in a beautiful hard cardboard package make for an extraordinary work of art.
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